Family restaurant Mi Madre's turns 30

Owners and founders Aurelio and Rosa Torres opened Mi Madre’s 30 years ago and have since grown it from a 10-seat taco shop to a Tex-Mex restaurant. (Photos by Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper)
Owners and founders Aurelio and Rosa Torres opened Mi Madre’s 30 years ago and have since grown it from a 10-seat taco shop to a Tex-Mex restaurant. (Photos by Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper)

Owners and founders Aurelio and Rosa Torres opened Mi Madre’s 30 years ago and have since grown it from a 10-seat taco shop to a Tex-Mex restaurant. (Photos by Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Image description
Editor's note: This dining feature was published in the March issue of Community Impact Newspaper. Mi Madre's has closed its dine-in area per a March 17 order from the city of Austin and Travis County to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but is still open for take-out and delivery orders.

When Aurelio and Rosa Torres took over Mi Madre’s, a 10-seat taco counter in 1990, they faced some challenges.

Aurelio was an experienced chef with a restaurant management degree but did not know how to make breakfast. His wife, Rosa, was learning English from behind the cash register.

“We never had trouble with the drug dealers,” she said. “They used to come and buy tacos.”

Aurelio jumped in: “With big rolls of money.”


More critically, the couple had to pay off their purchase of the restaurant in weekly installments.

“I came [to Austin] with $100 in my pocket,” Aurelio said, “but I had a million dollars of ideas.”

After he and Rosa moved to Austin in the 1980s, they opened a restaurant near the Capitol. Later, those customers followed them to Manor Road.

“We wanted to make the neighborhood better,” Aurelio said. “And we wanted to live in this neighborhood. We love this neighborhood.”

The neighbors grew to know them.

“I have people come back and [say], ‘I remember Miss Rosa giving me tacos for breakfast in the morning to take to school,’” said Christina Torres, Aurelio and Rosa’s daughter-in-law.

Mi Madre’s is now a full-scale restaurant, with dining rooms, patios and a lengthy menu.

The couple has also expanded its Manor Road portfolio to include School House Pub—which their son and Christina own—and Vida Pura Juicery, owned by their daughter.

“In hindsight, buying these properties was the best thing for our family,” Christina said. “We wouldn’t be here today because a lot of the restaurants that are closing, unfortunately, were leasing their property month-to-month.”

The couple recently retired from day-to-day work at Mi Madre’s but can sometimes be found at 3 a.m. preparing tacos for The University of Texas at Austin band on game days.

“This is what makes us happy,” Aurelio said.
By Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.


MOST RECENT

A screen image of Sam Biscoe at a meeting of the Travis County Commissioners Court
Travis County allocates $7.3 million in coronavirus relief aid to small cities

Commissioners voted to issue $55 per capita to the county's small cities, significantly less than mayors had lobbied for.

There have been a total of 3,501 coronavirus cases in the county and 95 deaths since the pandemic began locally March 13. (Community Impact staff)
Travis County’s first two coronavirus deaths of June bring total to 95

There have been a total of 3,501 coronavirus cases in the county and 95 deaths since the pandemic began locally March 13.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Phase 3 of his Open Texas plan June 3. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Greg Abbott's June 3 guidelines allow most Texas businesses to operate at 50% capacity

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continues to lift coronavirus-related business restrictions.

Alta Alexander shows the fire damage at her boutique on East 12th Street, Altatudes. (Photo by Jack Flagler, design by Shelby Savage/Community Impact Newspaper)
Altatudes and Kane's Barbershop, 2 black-owned businesses on East 12th Street, look to rebuild after fire

The Austin Fire Department said a fire that started in the early morning of June 1 at Kane’s Barbershop was accidental and caused by an electrical failure.

Legendary baseball player Nolan Ryan has long enjoyed ranching. Now, he and his team are preparing to open a butcher shop in Round Rock to showcase Goodstock, Nolan Ryan Beef and other Texas-made products. (Photo courtesy Nolan Ryan)
Nolan Ryan to open Round Rock butcher shop and 20 other Central Texas business updates to know

Read the latest news on Central Texas businesses from Community Impact Newspaper's latest coverage.

Protesters march toward the Texas Capitol. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin health officials: All who attended weekend demonstrations should get tested for coronavirus

Concerns over the coronavirus pandemic took the passenger seat, but health officials emphasized those health concerns have not subsided.

Barton Springs Pool
Closed since March, Barton Springs Pool to reopen with reservations June 9

After being closed for close to three months, Barton Springs Pool will open with limited hours beginning June 9.

Census reinstates some field operations in Texas following coronavirus delay. (Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau)
Census reinstates some field operations in Texas following coronavirus delay

Operations began in Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio beginning May 25.

A graphic outlining aims of Travis County's climate action plan
Travis County approves first ever climate action plan

Travis County commissioners voted June 2 on a collection of short to long terms goals to ward off climate change on the local level.

Protesters march toward the Texas Capitol. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
City Council will seek answers from Austin Police Department over response to the weekend's violent protests

Austin City Council will bring Austin Police Chief Brian Manley in for questioning on June 4 at 3 p.m.

A view of Downtown Austin from Lady Bird Lake (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Experts: Coronavirus has magnified long-held inequities of Austin’s health care system

Black and Hispanic communities outside of nursing homes have suffered the worst from the coronavirus, according to new data from Austin Public Health.

Travis County had an estimated 2,044 active coronavirus cases June 2. (Nicholas Cicale/Community impact Newspaper)
Austin metro COVID-19 hospitalizations at 97 as Travis County cases increase by 73

Travis County had an estimated 2,044 active coronavirus cases June 2.