That passion helped him to advance from being a dishwasher and busboy to becoming the owner of Cristina’s Fine Mexican Restaurant—named after his daughter—which now has 12 locations.
Cristina’s Fine Mexican Restaurant first opened its flagship store in 1996 before expanding into the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This included a location in Southlake that opened in 2007. The flagship store was an extension of Angelina’s, a Mexican restaurant founded by Arturo’s mother-in-law.
“The idea is to bring a little piece of Mexico to the people we serve,” Arturo said.
The restaurant, Arturo said, has been fortunate to be able to grow with Southlake. And in the process, it has become a familiar fixture for the community, he added.
Cristina Vargas, Arturo’s daughter and the restaurant’s namesake, is set to take over when her father retires. She said some of her earliest memories are of spending her days in the restaurant with her family and friends.
“Customers are able to feel the love we’ve put into it transcend into the food and the service,” Cristina said.
The eatery serves a mixture of authentic Mexican food and Tex-Mex.
“We say to our cooks and employees: ‘Pretend that you’re cooking for your mother,’” Arturo said.
Arturo said he and his wife always dreamed their children would take over the business. This dream has come to fruition, as Cristina and Arturo’s other children are committed to keeping the restaurant family-owned and -operated, Arturo said.
“I was not only raised in a home where I got to see a lot of love and a lot of generosity, but I also got to see my parents create a place like that for people to work at and eat at,” Cristina said. “I believe that God has given this all to us to spread love and generosity, and I’m honored to carry that on.”
Additional reporting by Ian Pribanic.
Cristina’s Fine Mexican Restaurant
2707 E. Southlake Blvd., Ste. 100, Southlake
Hours: Sun.-Thu.: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-10 p.m