Not long after signing the lease at Lakeland Village Center, rainy weather kept the two home from a planned Memorial Day weekend trip to Galveston with Jesse’s older sister Melissa and her fiancé at the time Danny Schmiech.
On their way home from a fast food run that Monday night, Gloria was killed almost instantly when another driver ran a red light and crashed into their car, Melissa said.
“It was it a happy story up until that moment in time for us," Melissa said. "She had literally just signed the lease for this restaurant a couple of weeks before. My little brother ... didn’t want to do it by himself and he asked us if we wanted to help them.”
Melissa, whose professional background is in real estate, is one of four partners. She works alongside her now husband Danny, who is a professional poker player; her brother Jesse, who manufactures prosthetic limbs; and Jesse's daughter Samantha Salassa, who has a culinary degree and learned the basics of the restaurant industry from her late mother.
The family continues to honor Gloria’s memory by sharing the food she loved with her neighbors in Bridgeland and through sentimental touches around the restaurant. For instance, an interior mural features the mountains of her hometown: Monterrey, Mexico.
“All the recipes that are here are mainly my mother's [and sister-in-law’s] recipes, so it's like sitting in my mother's kitchen," Melissa said "My mother didn’t make the homemade tortillas—that was when we went to grandma’s house. The tortillas in here just give off that beautiful smell, and a ton of memories are associated with that. It’s hard not to grab one every time I go in.”
Melissa said the Heights location has won awards for its breakfast tacos, and they are also one of the most popular menu items at the Cypress location.
Gloria closed the original location at 3 p.m. every day so she could spend evenings with her husband and two children, but dinner is also served at the Cypress location, Meliss said. A new dinner menu is under development and should debut in early 2020 along with a weekend brunch menu, she said.
Street tacos, carne guisada, enchiladas and fajitas are other popular dishes at the Tex-Mex restaurant.
“It’s a 12- to 24-hour marinating process [for our beef fajita meat], and that way you get the flavor and the tenderness we’re looking for,” Melissa said. “We’re not looking to compromise any of the quality of the products.”
As Chilosos continues to grow and adapt to new dining trends, Melissa said she also hopes to expand the restaurant’s capacity and put together grab-and-go family packs as well as curbside service in 2020.
“We just try to bring that good, comfort homecooking into a community where we feel like it's been really well-received,” she said. “We’ve been pretty steady with our business, but we also want to obviously grow and learn the trends of the area as well and what people like.”
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Mon.