By Ashley Davis
Hidden gems of entertainment gleam beneath Waco’s sleepy exterior; things missed by many students, freshmen and upperclassmen alike. One such gem is Tres Mexican Restaurant, located at 723 S. 6th Street, which not only serves up hot food, but also hosts Club Salsa from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. every Saturday in the upstairs area of the restaurant.
The premise of Club Salsa is this: from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. members of Baylor’s Latin Dance Society give free Latin dance lessons to students and any locals willing to learn. After the lessons, the upstairs area becomes a free-for-all dance floor for beginners, amateurs and even professional Latin dancers. The disc jockey is instructed to only play tejano music so the dancers can get as much experience as possible.
Tres Mexican, which opened in June of 2011, is owned by Luis Ramirez, Martin Ramirez and Sabrina Camacho. Soon after opening the restaurant, co-owner Luis Ramirez, who graduated from Baylor in 2007 and is a member of the Baylor chapter of Omega Delta Phi fraternity, sought a way to reach out to more Baylor students.
“With the restaurant being so close to campus, we wanted to bring a true Latin feel to Baylor students,” Luis Ramirez said. Ramirez said he wanted the restaurant to provide a fun atmosphere that was accessible to students and the local community as well as serve as an outlet for authentic Latin culture.
Houston senior Gilbert Avila, one of Ramirez’ fraternity brothers, happens to be vice president of Baylor’s Latin Dance Society, a club that gives free salsa, rumba, bachata, cha-cha and merengue lessons on campus to students and locals. Members of the club often go out of town for performances and Latin dance competitions.
Avila said the Latin Dance Society on campus is a great way for students to meet people and learn something fun at the same time, but that he also wanted a place for the students to try their new skills in a casual, real-world environment. It wasn’t long before Avila and Ramirez realized the restaurant was the perfect venue to combine their ideas.
Ramirez said he has been very pleased with the turnout.
The event has slowly gained popularity with the locals and attracted many of the restaurant’s most loyal customers, Ramirez said.
Club Salsa has also hosted birthday parties, wedding receptions and class reunions, which has helped the restaurant gain a stronger tie to the community.
“I feel like it exposes students to true Latin American culture and gives the Waco community a chance to interact with students,” Avila said. “It’s really important for our students to meet new people, so they’re not afraid to dance in the future.”
The Baylor Latin Dance Society will have its first meeting at 9 p.m. on August 27 in Rena Marrs McLean Gymnasium. Students are required to bring a Baylor ID and sign in at the door.