As a father of three, Los Reyes owner Michael Nambo is serious when he says opening a business is like having a baby.
“It takes a lot of work at first, and it doesn’t give much back,” he said. “But as the business grows—like a child grows—it gets stronger.”
Los Reyes is nearly 11 years old now, and as his first and only business venture, Michael said he has learned a lot about running a restaurant.
“Going from being an employee to being your own boss is like going from having one job to 10,” Michael said. “Owning a business is not a Monday through Friday thing; it’s always there.”
When he and his wife, Aracelia, first bought the restaurant in August 2006, they quickly expanded the dining space. Since then, Michael said they have focused on managing the ups and downs at a moderate pace.
“I’d rather go slower, with more organic growth, and be sustainable,” he said. “You have to find a way to turn any negatives into positives.”
Los Reyes was originally a chain restaurant, with one location owned by Michael’s uncle in Victoria and another in Austin. Aracelia said it was difficult to manage the chain, and they decided each location should be operated independently.
Aracelia works part-time at the Cedar Park Regional Medical Center and helps with the restaurant’s marketing and community efforts in her spare time.
“We love being part of the community,” she said. “We do church and school sponsorships, Blue Santa and find other ways to get involved. We host events, too, like baby showers—we want to make people feel comfortable here, like they’re home.”
Michael said Los Reyes has changed its menu slightly over time. The most successful dishes are Tex-Mex, and Los Reyes also offers some American dishes.
“If you can’t find something on the menu, you must not be hungry,” he said.
Michael said he occasionally experiments with dishes and ingredients to come up with new items, which are often featured as the monthly specials.
Michael said he has plenty of advice to give to anyone starting a business, but he said it comes down to one thing.
“You have to find what you love,” he said. “Or else it’s a waste of time.”
Los Reyes Mexican Restaurant
251 N. Bell Blvd., Cedar Park
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 6 a.m.-10 p.m.