Tender shoots have emerged from fertile soil, first noticed by the one who cultivated and nurtured the land. The eyes of the Bracero graze across the horizon as a gentle smile etches across his golden face. It is in his roots. It is what he knows. It is what those before him have firmly planted in his heart.

The Essence

With roots unique to generations of Mexican families that have maintained their culinary heritage, Bracero Cocina de Raiz is born. All are welcome here, to one of San Diego’s prime downtown neighborhoods, where we honor the many fruits of the land and those who have harvested for generations to bring a timeless culture of quality and flavor to the table.

The traditional Mexican kitchen is a central gathering place, where lively talk resonates and generations of home-crafted meals are envisioned, created and enjoyed. So it is at Bracero cocina de raiz. We celebrate memorable dishes and specialty cocktails, and raise a toast to the heart and soul of those who have nurtured each and every plant that has produced what goes into recipes that are both reminiscent, and perfected in a way that has never tasted quite so good.

The Experience

From the moment you enter, Bracero Cocina de Raiz will transform your spirit with thoughtfully designed spaces that are rustic yet modern, nostalgic and at the same time, impressively forward-thinking. For casual or romantic dining experiences, Bracero offers lively street-level dining, as well as an exclusive second-floor mezzanine that is sure to ignite the fire within. An interactive vertical bar towers from floor to ceiling, where mixologists are exhibiting their craft on every level, and an open kitchen on each floor allows guests to view the artful preparation of their meal. Specialty cocktails and tasty bites can be ordered tableside from carts, showcasing the talented depths of culinary creativity of the Bracero staff. There is also an open terrace that evokes a celebration of San Diego’s perfect climate, and one more reason why, if you don’t live here, you certainly should.

In the spirit of tradition, fresh masa is made onsite in the manner in which it was originally processed, and handmade tortillas are made to order. A “crudo bar” featuring local Carlsbad shellfish and wild Baja seafood offers fresh international specialties that are sourced locally- such as tiraditos, ceviche and sashimi.

Our tequila program includes a connoisseur onsite that will get you in the spirit, and is a playful addition to our wild, wet-your-whistle selection of specialty cocktails. There are also as many as twelve craft San Diego and Baja regional beers to boast about and an impressive selection of vinos not only from California, but from the burgeoning vineyards of Baja as well.

We know that you have a lot of choices when it comes to dining in Downtown San Diego, but we offer something unique. You will be transported from the moment you enter, and it is our hope that you will leave with a little touch of the Bracero spirit.

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The Heart of Bracero

A genuine labor of love, the Bracero inspired art installment, displayed at Bracero Cocina de Raíz, celebrates the Mexican spirit in its truest form. Developed as a way of honoring the hardworking migrant Mexican laborers who partook in the Bracero Program after WWII, Tijuana artist Daniel Ruanova showcases more than meets the eye. The art installment titled “The Bracero Art Project” exemplifies the rigorous and brutal labor that goes into fieldwork that we, as Americans, tend to take for granted every day. Ruanova brings to light that the work braceros provided the United States through the Bracero Program, which lasted from 1942 to 1964.

Enacted as a means of meeting the nation’s agriculture demand during WWII, the Bracero Program was officially put into place by President Truman in 1951. For the first few months of the program, both skilled and unskilled workers provided the U.S. with labor needed to further expand and build upon the railroad system. Ultimately moving into agriculture, the bracero program took on a new face.

To the dismay of many Mexican-Americans, the bracero’s are not acknowledged and honored in the way that they should, given how much they have contributed to the U.S. Known for their determination and incredible work ethic, Ruanova created an art piece that embodied such qualities found in braceros and within the Mexican heritage. The braceros had opened the path for many families to establish a life in the states during some of the toughest times in our nation’s history.

Patrons at Bracero Cocina de Raiz can now relish in the rich story that challenges the stigma of Mexican field workers. Enclosed in glass, this moving and impactful art piece hangs from the ceiling for all to admire during their dining experience at Bracero Cocina de Raiz. Signifying an important role in Mexican and American history, Ruanova’s artistic collaboration with Bracero is one that will give you a new appreciation for the tireless labor that goes into making our country a pillar of hope and prosperity for all.

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