On a rainy Sunday afternoon, a team of cooks works in silence. It’s a comfortable quiet that the team at ViUDA New Americana Bistro is accustomed to, seeing as they have a mostly deaf staff.
Kurt "The Irish Chef" Ramborger teamed up with Paul Rutoswski and restaurant general manager Rene Alcala to start the restaurant. It draws deaf community members from across the state.
"Last night, we had a couple drive in from Houston to have dinner and it is the second time they have come from Houston to have dinner," ViUDA General Manager Rene Alcala said.
Out of a staff of 10, seven are deaf.
"I think it is very special because I am happy when my wife is happy, and when we come here, she is happy and that makes me happy it is very simple," Customer Hector Cantu Jr. said.
While open for less than a year, Hector Cantu and his wife Donna have become regulars. Donna is deaf. For her, the restaurant offers a chance to relax and makes communication no longer question.
"I order wrong sometimes because I am deaf and they don't understand. Here, it is right," Customer Donna Cantu said.
Her husband, usually tasked as translator, gets to relax and enjoy a meal.
"The more places like this that have to do with deafness and appeal to the deaf people, the better my wife feels about coming to these places," he said.
While the restaurant is proving a draw to the deaf community, for the staff, it is apparent the food comes first. ViUDA is located on Main Street in Buda, but it's only open for dinner. Another restaurant, Casa Alda, serves breakfast and lunch out of the same building.