Family-owned restaurant El Corazon serves up vintage Tex-Mex in McKinney

El Corazon first opened in 2013 in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas, but relocated to McKinney in January 2018.

El Corazon first opened in 2013 in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas, but relocated to McKinney in January 2018.

Image description
MCK0919-36-dining2
Image description
MCK0919-36-dining3
Image description
MCK0919-36-dining4
In Spanish, el corazon means “the heart.” Co-owners John and Gilbert Cuellar said they named the restaurant El Corazon because they consider it to be “deep in the heart of Tex-Mex.”

The Cuellars, who are cousins, were born into the restaurant industry. Their grandmother started selling homemade tamales in 1926, and their fathers helped start a popular line of Mexican food restaurants in the 1940s. At one point, there were more than 100 of their restaurants across the U.S.

But El Corazon is one of a kind, Gilbert said. The restaurant features the Cuellar family’s old-school Tex-Mex recipes, which have been passed down and perfected over the years, he said.

“We want to take people back to the type of Tex-Mex they had growing up,” Gilbert said. “What we want to do is give people up-to-date food in a vintage setting and style. We want people to eat the food and say, ‘God, I haven’t had that in years.’”

The food is prepared from scratch every day, General Manager Nick Gonzalez said. The tomatoes are smoked every morning for the salsa, and the tortillas are hand-rolled and pressed in front of customers.

Menu items such as the sizzling-hot fajitas, tacos nortenos, Super Nachos, and margaritas are what the restaurant is most known for, John said.

The margarita selection is extensive, with more than 10 types, ranging from sweet mango or watermelon flavors to spicy jalapeno-infused cocktails.

While the food and drinks keep customers coming back, El Corazon’s Dining for a Cause program helps bring in new crowds.

Through this program, El Corazon partners with local nonprofits, booster clubs, churches and schools to host fundraisers at the restaurant. The organizations receive 15% of the food and drink proceeds during the event.

“It’s our way that we give back to a lot of the organizations in McKinney,” Catering Manager Deza Rae said. “We want to give back to the community.”
By Emily Davis
Emily graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in multi-platform journalism and a minor in criminal justice in Spring 2018. During her studies, Emily worked as an editor and reporter at The Houstonian, SHSU's local newspaper. Upon graduation, she began an editorial internship at Community Impact Newspaper in DFW, where she was then hired as Community Impact's first McKinney reporter in August 2018.


MOST RECENT

Here is the latest coronavirus update from Collin County. (Graphic by Community Impact Newspaper)
14 new cases of coronavirus, 2 deaths reported in Collin County

There were 14 new cases of coronavirus reported by Collin County health officials May 22.

Chiropractic offices are working to welcome patients back after a slowdown from the coronavirus. (Courtesy Fotolia)
McKinney chiropractors navigate patient slowdowns amid coronavirus

As the coronavirus made its impact on McKinney in mid-March, canceling elective surgeries and closing nonessential services, local health care offices felt the hit, even though some were open the entire time.

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that independent, freestanding ERs in Texas and several other states can be recognized health care providers eligible for reimbursement for treating Medicaid and Medicare patients during the coronavirus pandemic. (Cherry He/Community Impact Newspaper)
Freestanding ERs in Texas can now care for Medicaid, Medicare patients during pandemic

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that independent, freestanding ERs in Texas and several other states can be recognized health care providers eligible for reimbursement for treating Medicaid and Medicare patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Apex Centre in McKinney will reopen June 1. (Community Impact staff)
McKinney Parks and Recreation will reopen recreation centers June 1

As part of a phased reopening plan, the McKinney Parks & Recreation Department will open the Apex Centre, the Community Center and the Old Settler’s Recreation Center on June 1.

Mimi Conner (right) unloads food from her car after picking up nonperishable foods from the North Texas Food Bank and purchasing foods from Aldi, with help from volunteer Michelle Leavitt. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
North Texas Food Bank says new donation will provide 300,000 meals for residents in need

The North Texas Food Bank received a $100,000 donation from online retailer Amazon as the nonprofit continues to provide meals for residents in need.

As expected, McKinney did see a decrease in year-over-year sales tax revenue, though it fared better than other cities. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Sales tax revenue sees year-over-year decline in McKinney

McKinney is among hundreds of Texas cities that experienced a year-over-year monthly decline in sales tax payments during the early part of the coronavirus pandemic, according to state data.

The state-run testing program is expected to return to other areas of Collin County on a rotating basis every two weeks, according to a May 14 release from Collin County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Expanded testing, population growth in Frisco and 3 other DFW-area stories

Here are five recent updates from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, on a butcher shop in Keller, expanded COVID-19 testing in Collin County and more.

The county’s larger, more established cities saw low to moderate increases between 2% and 7%. This is because homes in these areas are more expensive and there is less space to build, one expert said. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Latest estimates show Collin County property values increasing by 4.53%

The preliminary property valuation countywide is $156 billion, compared with the 2019 certified tax roll of more than $149 billion, according to the latest numbers from the Collin Central Appraisal District.

texas-reopening
LIST: What is open, closed in Texas and how businesses can operate

Texas openings are staggered with different opening dates and operating limits.

The testing sites use self-swab tests for those who meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. (Chase Autin/Community Impact Newspaper)
New CVS drive-thru COVID-19 testing locations announced across Dallas-Fort Worth area, state

CVS Health is opening 44 new COVID-19 test sites at drive-thru locations across Texas, including a number of locations in the DFW area, according to a May 21 announcement by Gov. Greg Abbott.

All patients, residents and staff at Texas' 23 state hospitals and supported living centers are to be tested for coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas to test all state hospitals, supported living centers for COVID-19

All patients, residents and staff at Texas' 23 state hospitals and supported living centers will be tested for coronavirus regardless of symptoms or exposure.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from Collin County. (Community Impact staff)
Collin County reports 28 additional cases of coronavirus

An additional 28 positive cases of coronavirus were reported by Collin County health officials May 21.