Venezuelan family opens first U.S. El Kourmet location in Katy area

Co-owner Jose Vielma runs the business with his family. (Photos courtesy Jose Vielma)
Co-owner Jose Vielma runs the business with his family. (Photos courtesy Jose Vielma)

Co-owner Jose Vielma runs the business with his family. (Photos courtesy Jose Vielma)

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Triple Kourmet ($12.99) Combine three: beef, chicken and/or smoked pork chop.
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Patacon ($8.99-$9.49) is like a burger with fried plantain, ham and cheese.
The Vielma family migrated their restaurant, first established in their home city of Mérida, Venezuela, to the Katy area in 2015.

“Despite the negative stories we hear about Venezuela due to the political climate, Venezuela is a beautiful country,” co-owner Jose Vielma said in Spanish. “If we are living outside our country, for any reason, we want to give a good impression and share our lively culture and delicious food.”

Vielma and his wife, Maria Quintero, co-own El Kourmet, and two of their three children, a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old, help run the family business.

The first location of El Kourmet opened at 3939 N. Fry Road, Katy, and the second is at 25757 Westheimer Parkway, Katy.

Vielma said the most popular dishes at El Kourmet are the burgers; the arepa; and the patacon, which is similar to the burger, except the buns are replaced with green or yellow fried plantains.


“Venezuelan food is diverse in its influences and flavors,” Vielma said. “It’s very tasty and tropical.”

Vielma has known his passion for restaurants since he was a child, he said. Vielma saw a few family friends own their food businesses, and he also learned a lot from watching his parents cook.

Since COVID-19 hit the Greater Houston area in early March, El Kourmet has continued to operate cautiously, but the pandemic has kept the family from finding a good spot for the food truck, which was outside the Westheimer location before the pandemic.

As of July 23, El Kourmet has two brick-and-mortar locations in the Katy area. Vielma said he is opening a third location in Midtown in Houston within the next month and plans to find a fresh location for the original food truck as a fourth location.

“I want the world to see that our people are honest, hardworking, educated and ultimately to enjoy the beautiful culture of Venezuela through the culinary arts,” Vielma said.

El Kourmet-Fry Road

3939 N. Fry Road, Ste. C, Katy

281-829-7740

www.elkourmet.com

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-10 p.m.,

Sun. 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

El Kourmet-Westheimer

25757 Westheimer Parkway, Ste. 100, Katy

346-257-4980

www.elkourmet.com

Hours: Mon.-Thu. 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat.

8 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-3 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.