— It was the symbol of Tijuana’s cultural renaissance – Verde y Crema, an upscale restaurant by Jair Téllez, a famous chef, that opened two years ago. The restaurant quickly established a cult following with foodies from all over North America clamoring for a table.
It opened as the city, once one of the most violent in the world, was experiencing a dip in drug trade-related carnage. During that lull, a burgeoning arts and culinary scene popped up in Tijuana, and for the first time people were talking about the border city as an international destination.
But soon after Verde y Crema opened, two members of a Mexican cartel entered the high-end restaurant – one of them had a gold-plated gun – and opened fire, nearly killing a patron as he sat at a table with his wife. That shooting underscored how even as Tijuana was finally shedding its negative image, its violent history was coming back to haunt it.