The Mexican eatery’s been serving McKinney since 2007 after the former counselor teamed up with a professional chef to undertake the endeavor.
At the time, Harrell was working as a counselor in Dallas, and said that line of work was something he could hardly share and talk about with his family each day. But the restaurant industry has allowed for his whole crew to pitch in.
“It's been wonderful for us,” Harrell said about his restaurant. “It’s allowed us to do what we do well, which I think is to serve.”
Several in Harrell’s family would lend a hand to work at Petra over time, which is managed by several of his children and wife.
Originally a “Mexican Pei Wei” eating concept that focused on fast-casual dining, Petra has evolved over the years to become a more traditional, sit-down experience.
Harrell said that while people are still able to go in and out in a reasonable time at his restaurant, this transition was for the better, and allows for guests to truly enjoy themselves in a more intimate setting.
“It's much more a restaurant that you would feel is attached to a small neighborhood or something of that nature,” Harrell said. “It’s not as big as the other location.”
Authentically prepared Mexican dishes featuring strong spices alongside a full-service bar are in store for those who pay a visit to Petra. According to Harrell, those familiar with traditional styles of cooking implemented at his restaurant frequently compliment the fare.
Over the years, Harrell said Petra has aimed to fill a void in quality Mexican-food offerings and serving a city he and his family have lived in for years adds to the experience.
“We see Petra as a means of caring for the community,” Harrell said. “We really do. That's not a platitude ... it’s a way to stay connected with people and to care for them.”
7200 W. University Drive, Unit 100
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.