Murder Stuns Restaurant World

Brutal murder of beloved restaurant figure shocks and leaves few answers: A dapper gentleman gone

Murder of beloved Houston restaurant figure shocks, leaves few answers

crime scene police tape
The brutal murder of a well-liked Houston restaurant figure has sent shockwaves through the city's close-knit food community.
Joe Angel Ramos Nino's murder
Joe Angel Ramos's death has been ruled a homicide by the Harris County Medical Examiner.  Photo courtesy of KHOU/Facebook
crime scene police tape
Joe Angel Ramos Nino's murder

Houston Police are searching for clues in the murder of Joe Angel Ramos, a long-time fixture in Houston's restaurant community. Ramos's body was found Nov. 18  in the pond at Willow Waterhole Greenway Park. The Harris County Medical Examiner's Office lists Ramos's death as a homicide caused by "strangulation and blunt force injuries." 

Ramos spent years at both La Strada and Arcodoro as a manager. He recently started working at Nino's Restaurant in Montrose.

"We had been trying to get a hold of Joe for about two weeks," owner Vince Anne Mandola tells KHOU. "He was a great guy, we loved having him around."

Ramos was supposed to work at the restaurant on Nov. 8, but his employer received a mysterious text message from his phone stating he was going to attend a funeral. That was the last time anyone there heard from him. A week later, the police found his body in the water. HPD has yet to respond to CultureMap's request for an update on the status of the investigation.  

Ramos's Facebook page has served as a memorial for friends and family. Lori Farris, wife of Arcodoro owner Efisio Farris, provided CultureMap with a statement about what made Ramos so beloved:

Full of style, grace and impeccably dressed (with a kerchief in his suit pocket matching his tie), Joe Ramos, greeted our guests at the front door ushering them into Arcodoro’s home. He made them feel welcome with his wonderful smile and infectious laugh. Joe was part of our family and mentored many people over the years including our children. He touched so many people in so many different ways but always made a difference in their lives. Joe worked with passion and compassion at all times. He was a true professional and an icon for our industry. Efisio and I, are incredibly sad and we say a prayer each day in his name. Everyone at Arcodoro sends their thoughts and prayers to his family at this time.  

A memorial service will be held on Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. at the Bering Memorial United Methodist Church. Afterwards, mourners are invited to celebrate Ramos's life at Tony Mandola's