While Bistro Italiano & Rex Steakhouse in Conroe serves up Italian cuisine alongside steak, employee Rina Rraci—whose mother owns the eatery—said the combination is one the family has always cooked.

Owner Netti Rraci, who is from Albania, said having her four daughters working at the restaurant is important to her, and they share a love for the restaurant and customers.

Opening in 2011, Netti said she wanted to make people feel like they are at home in her restaurant, and Rina said the tight-knit community in Conroe made it a good location.

“The people around here were great; they were actually phenomenal. It’s really the people that kept us here as a community,” Rina said.

Rina said her family has been in the restaurant business for as long as she can remember, and the business has brought the family together.

“Some kids remember, like, growing up playing in parks and running around their homes. I remember running around the restaurants,” Rina said. “We’ve always cooked [at home] the way we cook in the restaurants, ... so we’ve always had the meats there; we’ve always sold steaks, pastas.”

As the whole family is involved in cooking, Rina said their Albanian influences can be found in the dishes they serve.

“We always kind of put our own twist to the food and how we kind of take care of our food, how we store food, how we cook our food, how we make our food and how we serve our food,” Rina said. “It’s what separates us from a lot of other restaurants.”

Rina said working with her sisters and mom creates a community that sets the restaurant apart as well. Although Rina said it can get tense working with family sometimes, it ultimately brings the family closer.

“We all know that [the restaurant] represents us, our family, our bloodline. You know, it represents us, so it makes us very tight knit; it makes us a lot closer,” Rina said.

Bistro Italiano and Rex Steakhouse

13080 Hwy. 105, Conroe



Hours: Mon.-Thu. 4:30-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 4:30-10 p.m., closed Sun.