‘What you put into the community, you get back. That’s what keeps me going.’ Santos Ruyan
Santos is a man who, though sometimes seems a bit shy at first, is full of energy and has a beautiful zest for life. A fixture at Taco Pica since it first opened in 1994, as well as the City Market and the Queen Square Market, Santos adds a fabulous flavour to our uptown. His smile is brighter than the sun and he is a champion for our city, sharing his distinct love of food, entertainment, and life, as only he can.
Let’s get to know Santos,
Where were you born/Where are you from?
I was born in Guatemala.
How long have you been a part of the uptown scene?
I’ve been with Taco Pica since it opened in 1994, right here at 96 Germain Street.
What’s your favourite snack food?
I like wood fired pizza, like the kind you get at the Queen Square Market. I love it with mushrooms, green pepper and pepperoni – a good Canadian pizza!
Coffee, tea or other?
Back in Guatemala, we used to grow citron and camomile, and that tea was good – but not like in the coffee shops here. I love Jasmine tea. It smells like a lady and it goes to my brain. Coffee, I’ll drink with milk and sugar. At Taco Pica, I love the Tropicana – blended with different flavours and rum added for a smooth taste. The Lime Margarita is also good, on the rocks with crushed ice.
Do you have any pets?
I don’t have any pets because in Canada, I don’t have any time. I love pets though. When I was growing up in Guatemala, my mother loved animals and we had a farm with cats, cows, horses, ducks, and turkeys. I also like plants and I try to grow them, like wild blueberries and mayflowers, but the deer also like them.
What kind of music do you like?
I like Canadian and North American style of music – that’s why I get the kids to come play at Taco Pica so often. But, I also like Latino/Salsa/Tango/Samba type of music, and we do have that when we have our Salsa Dance Nights. The atmosphere is so energetic and passionate. Exotic. Sometimes we have people come here from other countries, all dressed up in fancy clothes and it’s like another world. Sometimes, I like to dance with the ladies. The feeling during these nights is something to experience. Sometimes it shakes the floor. I like it.
What’s your favourite thing about Uptown Saint John?
It’s beautiful. It’s just very beautiful. You feel the history in the streets. It’s like Boston, and New York, and Montreal and Quebec. It’s a nice feeling. I also like it because it is slower paced. People don’t walk on you or push you. People are friendly here.
Find Santos at Taco Pica at 96 Germain Street or in the City Market during lunch, and representing Taco Pica at the Queen Square Market.