Chef-owner crafts made-from-scratch meals at La Estancia Italian Restaurant in Katy

La Estancia Italian Restaurant
Before relocating to Katy two years ago, owner Peppino Veleze worked at other restaurants until he could branch off in 2001 to open Peppino’s Italian Restaurant in the Montrose area in Houston. (Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper)

Before relocating to Katy two years ago, owner Peppino Veleze worked at other restaurants until he could branch off in 2001 to open Peppino’s Italian Restaurant in the Montrose area in Houston. (Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Lasagna de carne: Lasagna noodles are layered with meat, cheese and marinara sauce. $14.95. (Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Caprese salad: Sliced tomatoes are topped with fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. $10.95. (Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Lamb ribs: Lamb ribs with vegetables. Prices for specials are subject to change. (Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper)
Originally from Sicily, Italy, Peppino Veleze wakes up around 6 a.m. every day to arrive at Restaurant Depot, where he buys fresh produce and ingredients for his business, La Estancia Italian Restaurant, by 7:30 a.m.

“I opened La Estancia in Katy December 2017 because I enjoy the people here,” Veleze said in Spanish. “It’s a calm community, and the city is quiet by 9 p.m., unlike the bustling Houston area where I lived before. I can relax here.”

Each morning when he arrives at La Estancia, Veleze begins to make his sauces from scratch and to organize the fresh ingredients for any meals he may serve guests throughout the day.

“People can taste the difference in my food and distinguish us from chain restaurants,” he said. “I don’t make 50 pounds of pasta in the morning and reheat it later. I only make dishes as guests order them.”

La Estancia’s menu offers several spaghetti dishes and lasagnas among other pasta dishes. Other main courses are centered on chicken, seafood and veal. Dessert options include cannolis and chocolate mousse cake.


Veleze said his customers have expressed that they enjoy the dining experience at La Estancia not only for the food’s authenticity, but also because they can bring their own bottle of wine and dine in a tranquil and dim-lighted environment.

“My customers feel right at home here,” he added.

Veleze said he arrived to the U.S. from Italy at 21 years old and has lived in the Greater Houston area for 35 years, but his enthusiasm for the restaurant and hospitality industry was inspired by his grandmother in Italy.

“The restaurant business is a passion. We are here from sunrise to sunset,” Veleze said. “If you are not passionate about it, you can’t do it.”

La Estancia Italian Restaurant

5361 E. Fifth St., Katy | 346-307-7412 | www.laestanciaitalianrestaurant.com | Hours: Mon.-Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
By Nola Valente
A native Texan, Nola serves as reporter for the Katy edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She studied print journalism at the University of Houston and French at the University of Paris-Sorbonne in France. Nola was previously a foreign correspondent in Jerusalem, Israel covering Middle East news through an internship with an American news outlet.


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