Our Stories

Our Logo

When Grant Redmond bought Acapulco Joe’s he wanted to tap into the history and old glory of the restaurant. Someone put him in contact with Butch Phillips who had been head cook under Joe Rangal. Butch taught Grant the original recipes. Grant also researched everything he could about Joe Rangal and the restaurant itself. In line with embracing the history while at the same time moving into the future Grant commissioned the creation of a new logo for the restaurant.

Our logo embraces the history of Acapulco Joe’s. The seven stars represent the seven times Joe Rangal crossed the Rio Grand River in order to come the the U.S. The eagle with the snake in its talons represent the Mexican flag. The bald eagle represents America. Joe Rangal had the love for the American dream and was able to live it. Joe Rangal used to stand at noon and sing Kate Smith’s version of God Bless America. This song is still played during lunch to this day. The last line of that song is “my home sweet home”. That is also the tag line of our logo. We also included “established in 1960″ and the weathered look to show that the restaurant has stood the test of time.

Grant Redmond’s Story

Today, the restaurant is owned and operated by one of the city’s very own, Grant Redmond. Grant grew up on the near south side of Indianapolis, in less than desirable conditions. In his house the kids did the cooking. And Grant knew from this point forward that he had a passion for cooking the best, most interesting foods for the family. He took delight in the approval of his family and friends enjoying his creations.

Through his determination and eagerness Grant made the critical decision and joined the United States Air Force where he excelled in the area of electronics. Much like his passion for cooking and creating while in the Air Force, Grant’s innovative mind grew into many creative ideas used in navigation systems in jets and aircraft. Following the Air Force, Grant went to work for an electronics company working as a technician. There he worked his way through schooling at Ivy Tech where he received his electrical degree in Computer Service and Digital Electronics. On the side, Grant continued to enlighten people with his outstanding knowledge in the kitchen. Continuing with Catering, bar tending, and being a DJ. Grant spent these years focusing on and learning how flavors affected the many dishes he prepared. Soon enough, Grant’s flavors and great skills in the kitchen became very apparent amongst his customers and peers.

After graduation, Grant moved into the automotive manufacturing industry becoming an electrical engineer. This helped him to polish his managerial skills and to learn how to show return on investments. He was very innovative and created assembly line processes that are still used currently. As well, Grant received his bachelor’s degree for Business Administration through Wesleyan University graduating Summa Cum Laud. Grant used these valuable skills to oversee R&D and New Business Development. Because of his entertainment skills, Grant would be in charge of planning and organizing social events for top officials in his company. This enabled him to maintain his passion for food. He has always said he would retire and open his own restaurant.
In April 2013, Grant felt it was time to leave the automobile industry and take the plunge on his own. Going through a private broker, he discovered Acapulco Joe’s was for sale. Knowing the history of Acapulco Joe’s, Grant leaped for the opportunity to become the proud owner of a piece of history right here in Indianapolis. Being the first Mexican restaurant in Indianapolis, Joe’s is also a piece of Americana. For Grant, owning the restaurant enables him to be part of that history, and provides a creative outlet for his creative mind, and allows him to be the host every day. He has never looked back.

Joe Rangel’s Story

It’s just an average lunchtime at Acapulco Joe’s Mexican Restaurant on the southwest corner of Illinois and Vermont. Customers are lined up on the sidewalk outside, even thought it has rained on and off all morning. Clusters of hungry people are jammed together just inside the door. Others are trying to get takeout orders. Every booth and table is filled. A recording of Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” can be heard faintly over the already high noise level.

Suddenly the volume goes way up, blasting away all conversation. Joe Rangel, the proprietor, wants us all to listen. What Kate Smith is singing epitomizes what he tells everyone about before he talks about anything else.

While Kate’s booming voice bounces off the walls, everyone is silent. And when she finishes, the people in the crowded café applaud vigorously. A part of that applause was respect for Joe Rangal, founder of Acapulco Joe’s. He was a man who loved his adopted country, and went through much to make it his own.

In Mexico City, Joe, a very green kid raw from the farm, learned survival. He scrounged for meals and worked at any kind of job he could get. Along the way, he was a mortician’s assistant, a detective, a chauffeur for a bordello and a bracero, a stoop laborer in the fields.

At 13 years of age Joe left the small town where he was born – San Jose, Iturbide, in the state of Guanajato, Mexico and began his journey north. He left behind a childhood home where there were mouths to feed than food to feed them. Before that journey ended, it included six deportations, a prison term, a marriage of convenience and more than a few beatings.

Joe crossed the Rio Grande six times and was sent back to Mexico each time. On the unlucky seventh try, he was sentenced to a nine-month term for illegal entry and imprisoned in the federal penitentiary at Springfield, MO. There he learned, among other things, that if you marry an American it is a lot easier to become one. Soon after he was released on July 4, 1953, he found a willing lady 20 years older than he. Unfortunately, the marriage ended in divorce.

Still moving north, he walked seven nights from Brownsville to Corpus Christi, TX, avoiding daylight and immigration officials. He recalled the rattlesnakes under the summer moon; the lights of the highway and the railroad too kept him on course.

In Corpus Christi he got a job as a busboy in a Greek restaurant, working 12 hours a day for $50 a week. Soon, through a friend, he learned of a waiter’s job available at Charlie’s Café in Minneapolis. When he had saved $40, off he went to the bus station. There a language misunderstanding changed the course of his life.

“Minneapolis?” he said to the ticket seller.

“Uh-huh,” she replied. “Indianapolis, Indiana, right?”

Meanwhile, a rundown diner on Illinois Street in Indianapolis had been put up for sale. Joe, jobless and not yet a citizen, was determined to buy it. To Joe’s astonishment a friend, Joe Felsher, owner of Koehler’s Pharmacy, loaned him $5,000.00 to buy the diner. That totally unsecured loan is one of the things Joe never did quite believe, one of the things that made him shake his head and say, “Beautiful country, wonderful people”.

“The place was a wreck,” he said, but, ‘on credit’ he improved it, put in a dishwasher and air-conditioning and turned it into the simple, but functional, and highly successful establishment it is today.

Felsher got his money back and, in addition, so many gifts of food over the next few years that he finally had to tell Acapulco Joe to stop bringing him turkey, stew and chili on a nearly daily basis.

Rangel then took the first step toward American citizenship. Returning to Mexico to sort out his status, he found it would cost him $500.00 to “fix his papers”. He wrote letters to six Indianapolis friends asking for help. Within five days, two men had sent him checks with notes, “Good luck, Joe!” One was the dependable Felsher, the other Joe Brown of J & J Motors. Again Rangel shook his head and said “Wonderful country, wonderful people.”

In 1971 when the great day came that the United States finally claimed this determined would-be citizen, a large sign outside the café announced to the world. “Hear ye! I, Joe Rangel, became a U.S. citizen. Now I’m a proud Gringo and can raise hell about my taxes like any other citizen. Come in and share my bliss.” Hundreds shared his bliss that day to the tune of 15 cases of champagne.

When Joe was in Texas picking plums and other crops fro 32.5 cents an hour, he met a “beautiful woman”, Mabel Bardot. A piano player, Mabel tried to make the stooped laborers lives a little less grim by playing in the evenings. One evening she played for them and sang “The Impossible Dream”. It was his favorite song. Why wouldn’t it be? He lived it!


Monday7:00AM - 9:00PM
Tuesday7:00AM - 9:00PM
Wednesday7:00AM - 9:00PM
Thursday7:00AM - 9:00PM
Friday7:00AM - 10:00PM
Saturday7:00AM - 10:00PM
Sunday8:00AM - 8:00PM

For a reservation please call the restaurant at