In 2005 on a Saturday evening, Guzmán reportedly strolled into a restaurant in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, with several of his bodyguards. After he took his seat, his henchmen locked the doors of the restaurant, collected the cell phones of approximately 30 diners and instructed them to not be alarmed. The gangsters then ate their meal and left – paying for everyone else in the restaurant.
Later that year, Guzmán was reportedly seen in Culiacán, Sinaloa, repeating the same exploit at a restaurant. According to a witness, in November 2005 Guzmán entered the restaurant in Culiacán with 15 of his bodyguards, all of them carrying AK-47s. The restaurant was known as “Las Palmas”, a lime-green eatery with an ersatz tile roof on a busy street. A man in the restaurant told those present the following:
“Gentlemen, please. Give me a moment of your time. A man is going to come in, the boss. We will ask you to remain in your seats; the doors will be closed and nobody is allowed to leave. You will also not be allowed to use your cellulars. Do not worry; if you do everything that is asked of you, nothing will happen. Continue eating and don’t ask for your check. The boss will pay. Thank you.”
The diners reportedly sat still and frightened, as El Chapo walked in through the front door of the restaurant. He walked among the tables, greeting each person there. “Hello, nice to meet you. How are you? I’m Joaquín Guzmán Loera. A pleasure. At your service,” he said to all of the diners, as he shook their hands.
El Chapo then walked to a private salon inside the restaurant, where he ate the house specialties of “beef and fist-size shrimp.” After a couple of hours the meal ended and Guzmán departed; his gunmen left moments later.Los Angeles Times reported on this same incident in an article published on November 3, 2008. The newspaper, however, noted that whether any of these reported exploits actually happened is irrelevant, because these stories of Guzmán’s elusiveness have created a mythology around his image, where he’s claimed to be “everywhere, and nowhere” at the same time.