Ever since Danny Roy Young passed away back in 2008, Mayo Pardo, owner of Jovita’s Cantina, has served as the unofficial “mayor” of south Austin. The pony-tailed enchilada magnate is behind bars today as the FBI, along with a host of other law enforcement agencies, raided the iconic Tex Mex restaurant bright and early this morning. Neighbors reported 4 sonic booms as agents swept into the area and began the procedurals that resulted in fifteen arrests.

Our history with Jovita’s stretches all the way back to the early 90s. Before we became residents of Austin, we’d run out here for a week or so once a year to eat Tex Mex and barbecue and soak in the small-town vibe that Austin exuded way back when.

One of our favorites was Jovita’s Cantina. Back then the tiny cantina was just that-tiny. The financial success hadn’t come yet and the pre-expansion restaurant was like a cozy little cave with cool Mexican folk art on the walls and the visage of Cesar Chavez beaming down upon the tables laden with margaritas and enchilada platters.

Mayo Pardo would work the room like any good, outgoing restaurateur, and if he got the chance, he certainly wasn’t shy about voicing his opinion. The political affairs of the day always provided good fodder for the long-time south Austinite. We learned to keep the subject matter on the weather or rock n roll so Mr. Pardo wouldn’t give us an earful on whatever political matter had him hot under the collar that day.

After Cornell Hurd’s Thursday night residency ended back in 2009 {?} our visits tapered off a mite. We’d still run by once or twice a year for a margarita or a plate of Tex Mex but new joints opened up and our attention wavered.

An Austin without Jovita’s Cantina is unthinkable. We wept like school-girls when Mercedes Martinez shuttered a few years back and can’t imagine Bouldin Creek without Mayo Pardo holding court in his iconic restaurant.

A list of those arrested:

Jorge Carrillo, 44, of Lockhart

jose Pardo, 68, of Austin

Amanda Pardo, 45, of Austin

Tatiana Huang. 25, of Austin

Michael Martinez, 66, of Austin

Alfredo Alvarez, 62, of Austin

David Sosa, 42, of Austin

Lucy Estrada, 32, of Austin

Dionicio Sanchez, 62, of Austin

Chris Mier, 32, of Austin

Terry Ayers, 65, of Austin

Kilpatrick Wiliams, 46, of Austin

Leah Day, 24, of Austin

Jeffrey Finn, 45, of Shenandoah
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LATE BREAKING UPDATE ON CHOWPAPI http://chowpapi.com/wordpress/wordpress-2.8.6/wordpress/?p=2585

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thanks go to http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/austin/fbi-investigates-jovitas-restaurant

and more details from the Statesman http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/blotter/entries/2012/06/21/fbi_austin_officials_at_south.html

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