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Episode 273: Juan Bahena Discusses the Success and Vision of Tula, a Mexican Restaurant in Fayetteville

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About the Show:

“My goal is for Tula to be a destination restaurant in Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas.”

  • Juan Bahena

About the Guest:

Juan Bahena is the owner and visionary behind Tula, a destination Mexican restaurant located right on the square in Fayetteville, Arkansas. With roots originally from Chicago and family ties to Guerrero, Mexico, Juan brings a rich cultural and professional background to the culinary scene in the Ozarks. He is an alumnus of the University of Arkansas, having graduated from the Fay Jones School of Architecture. Although his academic background is in architecture and construction management, Juan has successfully channeled his passion for traditional Mexican cuisine and intimate knowledge of construction into creating a unique dining experience at Tula that reflects his heritage and innovative spirit.

Episode Summary:

In another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas, host Randy Wilburn spotlights Juan Bahena, the enthusiastic owner of Tula Mexican restaurant. This show unravels how a passion for authentic Mexican cuisine and community can converge to create a culinary landmark. Listeners will savor the backstory of how an architect turned restaurateur delivers traditional Mexican dishes with contemporary flair in Northwest Arkansas.

Juan reveals the narrative behind Tula, starting from the integration of Mexican heritage and the local embrace that transformed it into a must-visit Fayetteville establishment. With insights into the thoughtful design, meticulous crafting of dishes, and entrepreneurial challenges during a global pandemic, this episode is peppered with valuable lessons on perseverance, cultural authenticity, and community engagement – essential ingredients for a thriving business. Discover how Tula stands out by serving celebratory recipes daily, bringing a slice of Mexican tradition to the table, and why it’s more than just the food that makes a restaurant a community cornerstone.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tula’s cuisine draws inspiration from the rich cultural heritage of Juan’s family and their hometown, infusing each dish with traditional Mexican flavors and sentiments.
  • Juan emphasizes the importance of creating a holistic dining experience, where the ambiance, service, and architecture complement the quality of the food served.
  • Despite the challenges posed by the restaurant’s opening during the pandemic, Tula has successfully established itself as a destination restaurant in Fayetteville and broader Northwest Arkansas, thanks to community support and word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Juan shares his vision for Tula’s future, outlining his desire not only to sustain a business but to give back to his staff and the community that has supported him.
  • The value of perseverance and adaptability in the face of industry challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic is highlighted, with Juan’s commitment to his vision and his team playing a critical role in Tula’s continued success.

All this and more on this episode of the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast.

Important Links and Mentions on the Show:

Email Juan Bahena

Website Tula

Tula on Instagram

Tula on LinkedIn

Tune in to KUAF 91.3 FM to listen to the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast on Ozarks at Large every Tuesday at 12 Noon and 7 PM CST. And, check us out on their podcast as well. 

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This episode is sponsored by:

Signature Bank of Arkansas “Community Banking at its Best!”

Northwest Arkansas Council – “Life Works Here!” HyperLocal Jobs in NWA

Note: some of the resources mentioned may be affiliate links. This means we get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

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Thank you for listening to this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. We showcase businesses, culture, entrepreneurship, and everyday people’s lives, making Northwest Arkansas what it is today.

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