“An immigrant family who came to the United States with a big dream,” said Angel Cabrera. “With a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice, you can make it happen.”
SPRING BRANCH, Texas – If you can’t decide on dinner tonight, consider ordering from Tacos Doña Lena.
You may have heard of the Spring Branch Small Business. It’s one of Yelp’s Top 100 Restaurants in America. This distinction makes the restaurant’s backstory so much better.
“There is more meaning to this Doña Lena,” said Angel Cabrera of his family’s restaurant which opened in 8788 Hammerly Boulevard in April 2020.
Positive reviews from Yelp and Google help attract customers from as far away as Pearland and Crosby. But it’s Cabrera’s mother’s recipes that keep people coming back, even in a pandemic.
Doña Lena Cabrera, her husband and children immigrated from Salamanca, Guanajuato, Mexico, to Houston in 1991. Doña Lena started selling tacos in the Spring Branch family’s small apartment.
“Over 25 years of his life,” Cabrera said. “That’s how she paid for my college. That’s how she took care of us. And how we did it, honestly.
With this university education, this restaurant experience and the dream of opening a family business, Cabrera rented a space in a partially empty shopping center.
“And I was like, honestly, I think if the food is good, it’s going to happen. It doesn’t matter where I am, ”Cabrera said.
Cabrera says he and his family had nothing to lose by opening a small business in the early months of the pandemic. Her father had been fired. Cabrera’s partner was unemployed. The family needed to try.
Houston can’t have enough. The restaurant, which also caters to take out and Uber Eats orders, is busy 7 days a week. Mouth of water. Doña Lena’s heart melts.
KHOU 11 translated his message, into Spanish, for English-speaking viewers in Houston. “Oh well, thank you very much for all of your support,” and those who keep coming and supporting. ”
If you look behind the counter, you will see Doña Lena cooking seven days a week. Her husband drank tables. Their daughters work on the registry. And his son Angel runs the whole operation.
Even after decades of dreaming, the Cabreras never expected so much success in their first year in business.
“I hope a little kid in an apartment somewhere in Houston is watching this right now and I want them to see me right away and I want them to see themselves. Because I was that little kid in these apartments at one point. You know? And I had a big dream, ”Cabrera said.