Bruce Ucán | Chef, Owner
Growing up in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Chef Bruce Ucán was exposed early on to the flavors and techniques of his family’s Mayan cooking. He came to the US in 1987 where he cooked in several local restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky. Entrepreneurial in nature, Chef Ucán always wanted to own his own business and create his own food. In 1996, he started a food truck business, the Gypsy Van, that sold tacos, salbutes and tamales at farmer’s markets, construction sites and festivals. Just a year later, he opened a restaurant on East Market Street called the Mayan Gypsy, which he later transformed into the Mayan Cafe, his current endeavor. Here, he fuses traditional Mayan recipes and flavors with local, seasonal ingredients. He grew up eating the fruits and vegetables grown around him and is committed to sharing this philosophy for food with his customers here.
Anne Shadle | General Manager, Owner
Anne Shadle, Mayan Cafe’ co-owner, launched the restaurant with Chef Bruce in 2007. A trusted partner to Ucán, Anne’s brother-in-law, she is recognized by customers and food critics alike for her ability to create a consistently pleasing customer experience. Anne has managed the restaurant’s day to day operations, human resources, marketing/branding and finances since the beginning. Like Chef Bruce, she is professionally and personally committed to running a sustainable business. She spearheaded the addition of a catering services department which has grown exponentially since 2017. Together with Bruce in 2017, they launched Mayan Street Food, a fast casual food truck concept that functions as the exclusive food partner for Gravely Brewing Co. In 2019, Anne received the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) award for a thriving business of 10+ years and in 2020 the restaurant earned the Business First Family Business Award for small business. Anne also worked as a business coach/consultant with Louisville’s Small Business Development Center from 2020-2022. She now owns a small operations consulting company called Left Brain Solutions as well as floral design company called Lupine Floral Design. She graduated magna cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2006 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in French.
Willy Ucan | Sous Chef
Willy Ucan, Chef Bruce’s brother, has been running the kitchen with us since 2009. He is an absolute rock in our organization and leads by example. He ran our food truck for nearly 3 years during COVID and returned to the restaurant in 2023. His steadfast leadership is appreciated by all in the restaurant and he is constantly looking for ways to improve the food and cooking techniques. We are so very grateful to have built this business with him.
Christina Shadle | Partner
Christina Shadle, Chef Ucán’s wife, has helped guide the strategic direction of the Mayan Café since its inception. While she may not be present at the restaurant on a day-to-day basis, the results of her work can be seen at all times. Strongly committed to the concept of farm-to-table dining, she pointed her partners in this direction years before it gained widespread popularity. Christina advises both Bruce & Anne on areas including marketing, sales and staff development. She works full-time as the Director of Investment for the Louisville Urban League.