About once a week, Mary Rojas would visit Tex-Mex restaurant Mi Cocina where her friends Julio and Luis Pineda worked as servers. The brothers had nearly 30 years of experience between them and hoped to one day open their own restaurant.

After attending a cookout at the Pineda home, Rojas decided to approach her friend Jay Stine, an entrepreneur with a budding interest in the restaurant business. Stine and Rojas met with the two brothers, and shortly after, the idea for Pineda’s Mexican Cuisine was formed.

“We met and kind of came up with a plan for the partnership on the spot,” Stine said.

The Mexican restaurant opened in spring 2019 in Richardson. With support from Stine and Rojas, Pineda’s offers a unique twist on classic Mexican dishes, such as the Stiney’s Brisket Tacos and the smoked Quail Flautas.

Stine said he smokes all the brisket and quail with his own smoker.

“Luis and Julio designed the menu, and I contributed the [smoked meat],” Stine said. “You can taste the smoke; a lot of places just cook it in the oven, and it doesn’t have the same flavor.”

Stine said the restaurant is mostly staffed by the Pineda family, which contributes to the at-home atmosphere.

“This is all family—all the servers, all the cooks,” Stine said. “Mary and I are pretty much the only ones that aren’t part of the family ... [though] sometimes we almost are.”

Located on the corner of East Arapaho and North Plano roads, Stine said business for the restaurant was initially a bit slow but started to pick up before COVID-19 forced it to temporarily shut down.

Rojas said support and take-out orders from nearby Richardson residents kept the business afloat through long stretches of dine-in restrictions. To celebrate Cinco de Mayo last year, a nearby homeowners association ordered 100 plates of enchiladas to give to health care workers at Methodist Richardson Medical Center.

“The neighborhood and the [Richardson Chamber of Commerce] ... those are the people that really helped us out,” Rojas said. “It all worked out in the end.”

Pineda's Mexican Cuisine

1144 N. Plano Road, Ste. 119, Richardson



Hours: Sun.-Thu 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.