Jorge Recinos said when he and his wife, Lily, opened Lily’s Cafe in 2014, it was a dream come true. A decade earlier, he had moved to America from Guatemala, then worked in a variety of restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

“I liked what I did—cooking and prepping,” Jorge said through a translator. “I said, ‘One day I’ll own my own restaurant.’”

When the Plano restaurant opened, Lily left behind her grocery store job, where she worked in the meat department, to run the front of the house while Jorge manned the kitchen. However, Lily does not stay out of the kitchen. She arrives at 5:30 a.m. daily to make 300 tortillas using her Guatemalan mother’s recipe. She also uses a family recipe to make the restaurant’s fresh tamales.

Jorge said some of the restaurant’s recipes came from his mother, others from Lily, and the rest he came up with on his own.

“Sometimes, when I’m in the kitchen, ideas come in my mind, and I start to make different omelets, and I put it in the menu,” he said.

The diverse menu features Guatemalan and American dishes, such as huevos salchichones and the Very Berry Cinnamon Swirl French Toast.

Because of frequent requests from their customers, the couple said they decided in September to extend their hours and serve dinner. Popular dinner items include fajitas and carne asada. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served all day.

The couple are grateful many of their customers have been with them since the restaurant opened.

“We had families during the pandemic who promised they would come daily,” Lily said through a translator. “They helped us in that way so the business could stay open.”

Their one-year goal is to replace the bar area with a bakery featuring Guatemalan bread, tres leches cake, flan and other Guatemalan desserts.

Lily said her favorite part about co-owning the restaurant is watching her husband cook.

“You can see he really enjoys cooking,” she said. “That is something I admire in him.”

Lily’s Cafe

3100 Independence Parkway, Ste. 299, Plano


Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily