Wayan’e Itzimna

Today, as Mr Lawsons Twitter followers may have read, the Casual Restaurant Critic had his first-ever experience with the world-famous Wayan’e Tortas & Tacos in Meridas Itzimná neighborhood. The sandwich was good, the chaya and pineapple drink refreshing – but the best part was the cheery, witty man behind the counter! The owner, perhaps?

Que va a llevar, chel!?!” he literally shouts, all smiles.

The Critic asks this very friendly man what to order since it is the Critics first time ever. Immediately he issues a command to the cook who starts preparing the sandwich/torta; something meaty with melted cheese.

“What will you have to drink” he asks (in Spanish of course)

“What do you have?”

“Something local?”

“How local?”

Chaya con Piña?”


The Critic and the owner chit-chat for a moment longer, waiting for the torta to be heated on the plancha until it is crispy and the cheese melts out the sides. There is another lady waiting for something, who is commenting on the fact that her centro neighborhood is overrun with ‘gringos’ – norteamericanos y canadienses – she points out, looking furtively at the Critic. She expresses amazement at one norteamericano in particular in her neighborhood who is wheelchair-bound and races around in sentido contrario on the streets in his motorized wheelchair ‘like a little truck’ she says shaking her head and smiling. The owner asks if the Critic is a norteamericano.

Canadiense. Por favor

Everyone laughs.

A nudge at the Critics elbow. The Critic pretends to jump, as if scared at this sudden intrusion into the conversation by a tall-glass-with-chaya-piña-water-in-it wielding lady. The owner, obviously a master of wit, immediately remarks “and that is why we don’t open at night!”


A return visit is imminent…

11 thoughts on “Wayan’e Itzimna

  1. My new favorite restaurant in Merida. You can find me sucking down tacos next week. Next time, buy one of their t-shirts (50 pesos, I think). The owner of a certain t-shirt shop in the mall might think about stocking them …

  2. ohmigod, I can’t believe you are JUST NOW eating at Wayan’e!!

    Frankly, I think their tacos are the reason for going… you’ll have to try those next time.

    I have a question, though. Aren’t Canadians norteamericanos too? Or has the word norteamericano come to mean American?

  3. Well… it was about time that you found this place. I miss working 3 blocks from there :(.

    Don’t forget to leave a few pesos for George and Doña Mari as they surely remember the “piojos” and the nice people 🙂

  4. EJ – Hmm. Something to think about.

    WG / Jorgito – I have driven by this place at least a gazillion times in the 20 years I have lived here. Never stopped. Till yesterday. And yes I left them a good tip so that might make me one of the nice people…

    As for the NorteAmericano thing, yes, it has come to mean people from the united states. Technically, Mexicans are also NorteAmericanos, but in reality, they are called Latin Americans and not included in anything defined as North America. Canadians are called Canadians, and are not lumped in with the NorteAmericano classification which is in a class by itself. We also don’t let people call us Gringos, although we probably are… 🙂

  5. I want to go ! It is always people and the way they make you feel, what you take from places like that, not the sandwich. Did you notice you didn’t talk about the actual product? That’s the power of good customer service! ; )

  6. I’ve wanted to try this place for years, basically, ever since I read the Working Gringos’ rave review from way back when. Somehow, we just never get around to it. But it’s always in the back of my mind and on my “Vamos a Comer” list! Next trip, we’ll go for sure. So tell them to watch out, two more norteamericanos are heading their way soon! Oh, and I know that lady and I aren’t neighbors, because we’re the only gringos in our centro neighborhood for a few blocks in each direction – well, at least for now anyway.

  7. Susan – exactly what happened to me. Imagine, living here for 20 years, driving by on an errand so often and only now getting around to actually stopping there! I will warn anyone I see about two more norteamericanos.

    Juanita – I know I know. Addresses. I am so damn lazy with the addresses, credit card info and phone numbers. I figure, hell, if someone wants to go there, they’ll find it. Plus the addresses here, out in the colonias, are so funky…

    BUT. Wayan’e is on the way to Itzimná square, when you are coming from the Calle 31 aka Circuito. Does that help? Didn’t think so.

    Well, you know where the Burger King fountain is on Montejo? Of course you do. From there you can go
    a) downtown,
    b) to the Gran Plaza and/or Progreso
    c) to Calle 60 via Trotters
    d) to Colonia Aleman

    Pick (d) and drive, passing Chapur, Starbucks and when you come to the second set of lights, turn right to head towards Itzimná. The street you are now on is one way and you need to keep left, as Wayan’e is on your left, on the corner and well marked. If you see the restaurant Wine House on your right, you have passed it and need to get back, using those one-way streets we all love.

    Have a great Friday!

  8. That’s “d” as in “east”. Got it! 🙂
    So what am I?…Mexican citizen by birth, US citizen per US parents, Canadian citizen acquired later. Latin American? Norteamericana? Canadian? I’m so confused.

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