Vaqueros Cafe & Cantina began as a partnership between two cowboys who wanted to bring quality Mexican food to Austin.

“We are both cowboys first; we’re restaurant people after that,” co-owner Bobby Steiner said.

Steiner and his partner Don Burdette have been in the food business for years; their first venture, Steiner Ranch Steakhouse, has been open for over 10 years, Burdette said.

Now, Burdette and Steiner own two additional restaurants in Steiner Ranch and Westlake, both called Vaqueros Cafe & Cantina. The Westlake location opened in 2017, and the Steiner Ranch location opened in September.

One thing that stands out about their brand is they have added new recipes over the years based on recommendations from friends, family and staff, Steiner said.

The eatery’s enchiladas, for example, came from recipes from the owners’ families and their employees.

“The people who work here have us try [their recipes],” Steiner said. “Some of their [food] was better than some of ours.”

The restaurant has Latino workers who have been there for a long time and who have greatly influenced how Mexican food is cooked at Vaqueros, Steiner said.

One of the sweet items on the menu is a traditional Mexican dessert called tres leches, a sponge cake soaked in three different types of milk, and topped with whipped cream and strawberries. The recipe came from General Manager Isi Farias-Dobbs, Burdette said.

“We had been making tres leches the same way for years,” he said. “One day, she made hers, and we tried it; we then threw ours out and started selling hers.”

In addition to traditional Mexican foods, such as tacos, sopas and fajitas, Burdette and Steiner also expanded their menu to include items from the steakhouse, seafood and other American food. Some items on the menu include the Vaqueros burger, pancakes, ribs and cedar-plank salmon.

“We integrated seafood items here, and it’s been really, really good for us,” Burdette said.