The Mexican Depot is a restaurant in center city Philadelphia that serves a wide
variety of Mexican food along with a few American style meals. The restaurant is located
in an area of the city that is shared by both the tourist sectors and the local citizens. The
restaurant is located in the middle of three major hotels in the area; Government
operations buildings and law offices are also disbursed around the Mexican Depot.
As you walk into the Mexican Depot, you step into the foyer like room that
contains a bench on the left, this room serves as a waiting room for guests who are
waiting for a table and the restaurant is full. There is a window above this bench, which
allows a full view of the lounge and bar area.
As you walk into the second set of double doors, you see what is called a host
stand. This stand can be described as a podium like stand, which has a shelf at the top of
it. This shelf holds two woven wooden baskets. The basket closest to the doors is filled
with red, green, yellow and blue crayons. The basket behind that is full of menus. There
is a window over the host stand, which also reveals a view of the lounge and bar area.
There is a brown cushioned bench to the right of the host stand. This bench also has a
window behind it; this window has brown wooden blinds coming down it. As you
continue, walking you will see three-square tables to the far right of you and windows
with brown blinds behind them. These tables are known as 71, 72, and 73, with 71 being
closest to the door. To your left you will see the lounge specifically the booths, which
are part of the lounge. These booths are comparable to the other booths in the restaurant.
They have a window over each of them and are back to back and the two end benches
have shelf like ledges on them, which create a wall closest to the host stand.
As you take a few steps into the lounge to your left, you will see table 18, which
is the only low seating square table in the lounge, and tables 17 and 16. As your eyes, go
around the lounge tables 15 is nearly under a TV. It is the height of the bar top and table
14 is right next to it. Table 14 is the exact replica of table 15. The register is between
tables 14 and 13. Table 13 is a low rectangle table and is exactly the same table style and
model as tables 12 and 11. Tables 15 through 11 are all in front of a large sectional
window. The bar is located in the middle of all the tables, having 19 chairs around it, 2
being low chairs.
Being in the center of everything in the city, Mexican Depot attracts a variety of
clientele both tourist and locals. It seems to be the popular place of many to go after
work, after a long day of competitions or conventions or even after sight seeing. Julio,
also known as Latin Lover by the staff of the Mexican Lover because of the Casanova
demeanor he uses on many woman that enter the restaurant both staff and guests. He
knows nearly every staff member on a personal level, possibly because he spends roughly
six out of the seven evenings in a week at The Mexican Depot. These evenings are spent
at a particular seat at the bar at the Mexican Depot. He could be classified as being in the
upper middle class in terms of his socioeconomic status. He is in his late fifties early
sixties. He has salt and pepper hair around 5’10 in stature, unusually large facial features
and tan skin. He was raised in Puerto Rica by his grandmother and has a younger brother
who is deceased. He works for the city as the head of city management (Bartels, Victoria.
Fieldwork conducted at Mexican Depot, 3/17/09 3p). This means he works under the city
manager to carryout he or she’s plans for the budget and regulates the use of this money.
A woman by the name of Layla comes to the Mexican Depot on a regular basis as
well. This woman seems to be an object of mystery to quite a few people at the Mexican
Depot. Her occupation is one of the many aspects of this cloud of mystery around her.
She dresses in a manner that suggests she may either be from an illegal occupation to
someone work works as a secretary depending on the day. Layla, herself however claims
to work for the FBI. Many of the staff and Julio have other speculations Layla’s actual
occupation however; no one seems to actually know for sure what she does for a living.
She seems to be from a lower middle class to working class socioeconomic background.
Layla has short wavy dyed blonde hair to her shoulders and appears to be in her late
thirties to early forties. She is around 5’8 in stature, and walks with a slight slump about
her. She wears a very liberal amount of make-up on her face and wears a wardrobe from
classifiably lusty attire to somewhat professional attire. She displays a variety of
emotions in the Mexican Depot that range from being extremely happy to being
completely miserable. She displays interest of some sort in Julio, but it seems to be a love
hate relationship that they share, where she is usually the one displaying this relationship
by the way she reacts or does not react to him.
Edair is also a regular, however, he is not from Philadelphia. He flies into
Philadelphia every Monday before the workday, and flies out again every Thursday night.
Edair occasionally flies to other locations in the U.S., besides Philadelphia with his career
as a sales management manager. He permanently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He
is a very cheerful man who shares little details about his life to the Mexican Depot staff
but does not tell any one too much about his personal life. He takes an interest in what the
staff is feeling as well, in one instance he expressed that he would rather sit where a
server who was having a bad day was station as opposed to his usual seat at the bar top,
(Bartels,Victoria. 3/24/09. Fieldwork conducted at Mexican Depot, 3p). Edair looks to
be in his early forties to late thirties and attractive for his age. He is very tall, possibly
around 6’3. He has a square shaped jaw line and walks with a stride that makes him seem
very confident and charming.
These three people come into the Mexican Depot the most on a regular basis,
however they are not the only ones that come in often. Some come in slightly less often
as these three. Elinore, also known as mean lady by the staff of Mexican Depot due to
stand offish manner that she displays with them. she comes into the Mexican Depot often,
drinks margaritas with salt, and reads her book. She is an older woman who wears
glasses with a string around them, she has a very narrow thin face and thin body. She
wears a very conservative wardrobe to the restaurant and seems to be from an upper
middle class socioeconomic class. The last Mexican Depot client is a man in his early
thirties named Kaden. Kaden dresses in a trendy manner and closely resembles the rapper
known as Kanye West aside from his height. Kaden looks to be about 6’.
Two bartenders work predominantly more than others and show up a number of
times. These two bartenders are Mike and Ginny. Mike is in his late thirties and works as
a computer programmer as well as working as a bartender. He is slightly balding at the
top of his head and is roughly around 6’2 or 6’3. Ginny on the other hand is a recent
college graduate who is in her early twenties. She has short blonde curly hair, and a very
round face and stands about 5’6. These bartenders show up in quite a few of the nights
that were observed.
Just A Drink Or a Deeper Meaning
Gender, Gender Roles, Sexuality and Class seem to play a huge role in the regular
events at the Mexican Depot. These overlaying themes depict what drinks are ordered by
clientele, along with who makes advances to whom in the setting of the bar. They also
determine activities clients take part in at the bar in general.
In the setting of the Mexican Depot, it is apparent that masculinity can be
displayed through the drinks that clients consumed. In terms of Gender, men seem to
drink more plain, unaltered drinks such as beer or shots, without chasers. Men like Edair
and Kaden drink beers when they come to the Mexican Depot. When noticing what
women drink it follows an opposite pattern in behaviors. Women tend to drink fancier
mixed drinks. Women order drinks that seem to resemble a more upscale sex in the city
This drink selection does not only seem to be dependant soling on gender
however, it also has something to do with their socioeconomic status. Classier drinks
seem to be ordered by those of higher socioeconomic status. Julio for example always
drinks martinis at the Mexican Depot. He is more metro sexual and a higher class than
most other men besides Edair, who appears to be a high status than Julio. Edair appears to
be of a higher socioeconomic status than Julio and he always drinks a large beer. He
seems to be more confident than of the other clients at the restaurant, therefore it may be
said that he does not need to have a specific drink to determine his class status.
Class is also shows it self in the way clients dress when they come to the
restaurant. Clients of a high socioeconomic status wear clothes that are more
conservative, plainer and more fabric in general. For example, even when Edair come to
the Mexican Depot in jeans and a long sleeve red adidas shirt he appeared to still be of a
high status than most of the clients at the restaurant. He walks with confidence and is
usually smiling. Layla on the opposite side of the class distitinction wears clothes that
make her appear to be a lower class than most of the clients at the restaurant. She also
walks with a slight slump, which also leads to the assumption that she is from a lower
status and possibly has a low sense of self-confidence.
Gender roles and sexuality are the last themes that are discovered at the Mexican
Depot. Men always make advances on women. Julio makes advances on several
occasions in the research on women, who are both staff and clients. His advances at a
staff member and him telling her that he would love to see her a short skirt and boots with
her hair down, (Batels, Victoria. 3/17/09 Fieldwork conducted at Mexican Depot, 3p). In
another instance, a man actually puts his hand down a woman’s shirt, indicating his sense
of superiority toward her, (3/17/09). This comes off as being rude, however it also shows
his sense of masculinity toward her. In all of the research conducted it appeared that
Layla was the only woman to many any advances on a man, which ended in him not
being interested in her.
Many people who were in involved in the research were unaware of their participation in
a study. the managers of the restaurant and a few members of the staff knew about the
research that was being conducted but the clients were unaware completely. This made
the Hawthorne effect to be minimized in results of the study. However, bias may have
occurred in the study due to conducting the study as a member of the staff of the Mexican
Depot. This may have caused a certain amount of subjectivity. Someone who did not
have a previous relationship with the subjects involved in study may avoid this
A good recommendation for future research of the Mexican Depot or any
restaurant or bar setting would be to focus in one particular theme instead of this studies
idea of multiple themes in the setting. This has a greater possibility of achieving a more
solid foundation of the overall setting. The research would also achieve more through a
longer study. This study only being carried out for five weeks, are not suffient enough to
make any solid theories. In conclusion, the gender roles of the research portrayed
dominant themes of Gender, sexuality, gender roles and class in a way that can only be
studied in a bar like setting and showed a particular way people behave at a bar under the
influence of alcohol.
Bartels, Victoria. Fieldwork conducted at Mexican Depot.