Sunday, May 17, 2009


On Tom's recent trip to Guatemala we had a beautiful night out with our dearest friends Fredy and Ceci to the Casa Yurrita Bistro.  The experience delights the palate, the eyes and the mind. The restaurant is located in a historic landmark of Guatemala city, the house of Don Felipe Yurrita that elegantly stands next to the Chapel commonly known as "Iglesia Yurrita". 

The history behind it as told by its Chef and owner is as follows:

"In 1902 the eruption of the Volcan Santa Maria consumed various towns and coffee plantations in El Tumbador, San Marcos. Don Felipe Yurrita, coffee grower, gave shelter to all his workers in the coffee warehouse. For four days the all shared the shelter bearing the strong smell of sulfer and of the smoke that came from the wood they lit up for illumination. They drank water from a single  basin the jolously took care of. The men took turns sweeping the ashes from the  roof top so that it wouldn't colapse.

As the days went by Don Felipe worried about a fatal ending surrender his destiny to the Virgen  de las Angustias, venerated in Arevalo, a town in Spain were he was born. They all prayed and offered that if they were to come out alive he would build a temple in her honor. After four days the eruption subsided but left behind 3 meters of accumulated sand on the soil, making it unusable. They again turn to the Virgen de las Angustias and then  came a 3 month precipitation that cleaned the earth from sand and ashes preparing the soil for the best harvest the plantation has ever given.

Between 1921 and 1928 Don Felipe built Villa Carmen a weekend retreat, today Casa Yurrita, where he lived while designing, creating and supervision the construction of the Chapel of our Lady of the Anguishes. The construction lasted from 1928 to 1941. Six month after its completion Don Felipe Yurrita passed away.  

Today, Patrick Bejot, greatgrandson of don Felipe Yurrita, opens a restaurant to help preserve this family and national patrimony and to share with its visitors this astounding arquitectonic artwork."

The evening was fantastic,  since there were no vegetarian dishes on the menu, Patrick offered to make  adapt some of the dishes and made us an off the menu entree. We started with a potato and leek soup, then a mushroom carpaccio and as a main dish  Moroccan cous cous.  Our friend had fish entrees and we all enjoyed a bottle of white wine. 

At the end of the meal we had a long  visit with Patrick. We talked  about the history of the place, the furniture and pieces of art in it, about his life, about his family and its relevance in the history  of Guatemala, etc. 

I plan to go back  for lunch so I can take pictures with daylight and be able to also stop by the church. I don't think I've ever been inside the chapel, my dad tells me it is beautiful. Growing up, he was an altar boy to the bishop and served in Iglesia Yurrita a couple of times.  

Here are some pictures of the house, the food and our host.


Ceci Vasquez said...

De verdad que la pasamos super! QUE SE REPITA!!!

Mama Bear said...

How beautiful. I love your blog. Thanks so much for doing this. We completed our family with two princesses (now ages 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 years old) born in Guatemala and we try very hard to talk alot about Guatemala and all the items we have up in our house about and from Guatemala.
Blessings and what beautiful food and house!

Nancy said...

No conozco el restaurante, me parece que es muy reciente. Pero te dejo el enlace a un pequeño reportaje que escribí hace algún tiempo sobre las construcciones que dejó don Felipe Yurrita. Espero las disfrutes.

Francsico Yurrita said...

Hola Patrick:
Recien hoy por la tarde me enviaron tu reportaje y el de tu resturant. Te felicito con todo corazon, que gran empresa y que bello lo que has hecho. Soy Francisco nieto de Pancho, hermano de tu abuelita Chita y primo de tu mami Frances, estuvimos juntos hace mil anos contigo y Raul en Paris, tu abuelita y mi hermana Patricia, y tu mami, y la pasamos tan bien todos- me siento sumamente orgulloso de tus logros y adelante con tus empresas, la casa se ve mas bella que cuando eramos ninos, un fuerte abrazo a tu mami Frances y mis gratos recuerdos y carino a tu hermano Raul. Si algun dia paso por Guatemala sin duda ire a visitarte y a gozar de tu comida que se ve riquisima.

Un gran Abrazo y mi carino desde Washington DC

Francisco III

Unknown said...

My Grandfather was Don Pedro Yurrita. My mother was Elena Yurrita. I have wonderful memories of playing in the house and having Sunday services in the Chapel. After church we would visit with abuelita and have lunch there. Thank you for the history and preserving a very special place!

Maria Teresa Soares

clina said...

I too am the granddaughter of Don Pedro Yurrita and great granddaughter of Don Felipe Yurrita. Don Pedro was his oldest son. Like my sister (Terry) who wrote above, I also have the most wonderful memories of playing in the house, visiting with Abuelita, having lunch and going to church on Sunday's at the Iglesia. Our parents were married in the church and I love looking at the photos taken inside the church that day. I am so happy to have found this blog on Casa Yurrita. I believe that the owner Patrick Bejot and I are cousins. We are so happy to find out that the house and our heritage are being preserved.It looks just like I remember.It was great being able to show my kids their great-great grandparents home. I hope to someday return to Guatemala, a country that holds dear memories for me. And if I ever do, I will come by to see the house and Patrick. Again thanks for taking care of something so dear to the family.

Caroline Marie Ritchey

edward best said...

hello , my name is edward best my sisters carolind marie teresa grew up in the house and iglesia de yurrita, my grandmother dona lola and grandfather was don pedro yurrita, my mother was elena beatriz yurrtia. my grandfather don pedro yurrita was ambassador to the vatican,while his family was traveling europe, she met my father is an american in the navy in spain on a port of call, he was from alabama, they fell in love met again in hawaii and married in guatemala in the iglesia de yurrita. don pedro owned several coffee plantations and we would spend alot of time traveling and inspecting the fields, he was well respected by the locals and we would often take horses in and around the fileds. i especially chichicastneago and lake atitlan, Don Pedro was also an avid stamp collector especially from the vatican, which i now own this vast collection and are to this day in wonderful condition. thank you for bringing back so many fond memeories!!

Don Eduardo from virginia usa

Unknown said...

This is a message to Edward Best. Your mother and mine were good friends here in Guatemala and have something for you. Please e mail to to stablish contact.