For over 30 years, Tereso Acosta has worked in the restaurant industry. During those years, he created a well-rounded resume.

“I started to work in restaurants when I moved to Texas from Mexico in 1990,” Acosta said. “Before I worked at Mexican restaurants, I cooked Chinese food; I learned all the Chinese food. I learned to work with American food—I made the hamburgers, then Vietnamese food, then Mexican food. So I know how to cook all of that.”

Prior to opening Austin Taco House in Southlake 13 years ago, Acosta said he and his wife, Maria, who also has extensive restaurant experience, cooked food at home, put it in an ice chest and drove to mechanic shops to sell it.

The culinary couple was thrilled when they were able to make their dream come true and open their own business. Acosta said his favorite thing about owning his restaurant is being his own boss.

“You work for yourself and at the end of the day, even if you work so hard, you’re working for you. If you make lots of money, or less money, it’s going to be your money,” he said. “You’re not working for someone else. At the end of the day, you feel happy after all the hard work.”

Austin Taco House has many repeat customers, including members of the Carroll Senior High School football team, who Acosta said dine there daily. The team always orders the Southlake Taco, which they have dubbed “The Dragon Taco,” after the school mascot.

Besides tacos, the menu includes a variety of traditional Mexican food, including chile relleno, carne asada, fajitas, enchiladas, tostadas and more.

The Acostas’ children, Samantha, 17, and Santiago, 15, spent their childhood at the family restaurant. Now, they wait tables, work the counter and help wherever needed. Samantha said the experience has shaped her career goals of eventually becoming a chef and having her own business.

“I grew up here,” Samantha said. “I’m here with folks who have seen me since I was little—it’s like having a huge extended family.”

Austin Taco House - 2001 W. Southlake Blvd., Ste. 123, Southlake. 817-416-0346 or 817-416-0619. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.