“It happened on the plaza that never slept—my favorite place in the whole of the city,” writes Lupe Pérez, to begin her memoir.
A mix of historical fact, vintage photos and maps, recipes, music, folklore, and south Texan culture, Lupe’s story offers an eyewitness account of life on Military Plaza in San Antonio during the 1880s.
Facing the impending failure of her family’s chili stand, Lupe is certain she can improve profits. But her older sister and hostess, Josefa, resists Lupe’s arguments—until Tom O’Malley, an itinerant vaudeville actor, arrives. By default, Lupe becomes Chili Queen, but each new venture presents new challenges for the struggling chili stand.
Peter Meyer comes to town from the Hill Country to pursue his dream of becoming a shopkeeper. Despite their cultural differences, he and Lupe are drawn to one another by more than romantic feelings. They share a common entrepreneurial dream, and Peter helps Lupe grow in her business savvy.
Just as business improves, word spreads of a new city hall on the plaza and the subsequent eviction of all chili stands. Where will they go? What will they do? The choice is Lupe’s to make. And her response is bold.