“When we found this spot, it was perfect. It’s a small brick and mortar but still kind of funky and ... we could transform it into something unique,” Onel said.
On Oct. 17, 2020, the couple opened The Guava Tree Cuban Cafe & Cantina, which is also the name of their food truck business.
Onel originally thought about opening a grilled cheese food truck, but then he chose to tap into his roots.
“One day, I thought, ‘Cuban food.’ I’m Cuban. Why would I do anything different than that?” he said.
Onel explained they chose the business name because guava is incorporated in many Cuban recipes.
In addition to guava being in most of Guava Tree’s sauces, staff also serve guava glazed bacon and a guava and cream cheese puffed pastry which are all made by Onel in house.
The Perez's daughter, Mariah Dobson, said they have a diverse customer base including McKinney residents, people who work in McKinney, customers who followed them when they were a food truck and Cubans looking for authentic Cuban food. Onel said an elderly Cuban gentleman came in when they first opened with a group of local Cubans. He expressed gratitude that the Perez’s opened a Cuban restaurant.
“He said, ‘I told my wife, the first time we came in, this place is going to be hopping and you’ve done it! Keep doing what you are doing, you’re doing a great thing,’” Onel said.
The Guava Tree Cuban Cafe & Cantina
104 S. Chestnut St., McKinney
Hours: Mon., Thu.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Wed. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; closed Sunday and Tuesday