With every quinceanera, birthday party, or Spurs or Dallas Cowboys game growing up, Miguel Vidal remembers eating barbecue with flour tortillas, rice, beans, avocado and salsa in his family’s backyard.

“When I moved to Austin, I had a longing for that food. ... I would seek out other places to have that same kind of nostalgic feeling, but I had to go home and make it myself,” Vidal said, which is what, in part, inspired him to open his own Tex-Mex barbecue restaurant.

The backstory

Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ started out as a food truck venture in downtown Austin in February 2013. The food truck moved to a second location in South Austin before outgrowing the area and again moving to a third location on Menchaca Road.

Soon enough, the Vidals were on the way to outgrowing that location as well. Vidal said they added another food truck and barbecue pit to make it work.

“We just seemed to get busier every year,” Miguel said.

In 2019, Vidal and his family moved to Buda, and he fell in love with the area. On June 14, he and his wife, Modesty Vidal, held a soft opening Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ’s first brick-and-mortar location in downtown Buda.

What's special about it?

Originally from San Antonio, Vidal said a blend of American and Mexican cultures is also what drew him to Tex-Mex barbecue, and he embraces Chicano culture through his recipes.

“We didn’t invent a brisket taco, but it wasn’t being showcased, in my opinion, the way it was being eaten in the backyards of Tejanos,” he said.

Vidal said he uses simple seasonings to produce complex flavors through precise techniques; he emphasized time and attention to the meat are important.

“I really focus on the time and temperature and fire and have that craft and that art be a part of Valentina’s,” Vidal said.

He said one of the things that sets the restaurant apart is that they use mesquite wood for 100% of the whole cook.

“Some places might do a blend, the majority of Central Texas barbecue places use post oak wood, so that kind of gives us our own style,” he said.

What’s on the menu?

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ serves breakfast tacos with homemade tortillas, beef fajitas and sandwiches.

Customers can also purchase mesquite smoked meats by the pound, including brisket, pulled pork, spicy Oaxaca sausage, pork spare ribs and more.