Manuel Atencio, the owner of La Balance Cafe, said he grew up in the restaurant industry and has worked in restaurants his whole career.

“[It’s] what I’ve been doing all my life,” Atencio said. “We’ve been a family restaurant. That’s what we love. That’s what we know.”

La Balance Cafe first opened a location in Katy in August of 2013, but after Hurricane Harvey hit in August 2017, Atencio moved the establishment to Fulshear in March 2018 because it was the only place that was in his budget.

When Atencio moved to the new location, he was not given money from the Small Business Association so he had to sell his house to open the restaurant.

To reflect modern French cuisine, Atencio keeps classic French dishes but presents them using modern plating. For some dishes, he adds Asian and Mexican influences with the seasoning.

“I used to be strictly French, but with COVID[-19] I had to adapt [to] what people [needed],” Atencio said.

For dinner, filet mignon and sea scallops are popular menu items, Atencio said. For breakfast, the Supreme Burrito is the most popular.

When the cafe first opened in Fulshear, Atencio had employees who wanted to work more hours, so Atencio suggested serving breakfast burritos through the drive-thru. A few years later, the drive-thru was how he stayed open during the pandemic.

“I didn’t have a plan,” Atencio said. “I just did what I thought [was] going to be good. The good thing is I have a drive-thru. During the pandemic, that was my savior.”

When the winter storm hit Texas in February 2021, there was no one available to work the restaurant, Atencio said.

“People [were] calling for burritos,” Atencio said. “So I thought ‘OK, let’s buy a food truck.’ It was a random idea that I had just to [get back] on my feet again.”

When Atencio moved to the new location, he renovated the floors, lights and dining room. During the winter storm, there was water damage in the walls, and he had to renovate the kitchen.

However, he said he wonders when he will be able to get more people into the restaurant. Atencio said he wants to be open for the full day but does not yet have enough staff to make that happen.

“My business is a roller coaster because one day you get up [high],” Atencio said. “Next thing you [know], it’s downhill, but I like it.”

La Balance Cafe

8050 FM 359 S., Fulshear


Breakfast/lunch hours: Tue.-Sat. 7 a.m.-2 p.m., 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-noon, closed Mondays

Dinner hours: Fri.-Sat. 5-10 p.m.

Drive-thru burrito hours: Tues.-Sat., 7 a.m.-2 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m. -12 p.m.