A group of friends and restaurant industry veterans decided they wanted to be their own bosses in 2014.
Aurelio Velez (left) and Nohemi Tamayo are co-owners of Hippo Burgers.[/caption]
Now, Ebelio Cardenas, Nohemi Tamayo and Aurelio Velez own and run Hippo Burgers, an eatery in Humble where the burgers are big, Tamayo said.
Popular burgers include the Monster Hippo, which features two patties, bacon, ham, sausage, cheese and jalapenos, and the Hippo Avocado Burger, which has guacamole, grilled onions, tomatoes and cheese. Each of the burgers is made with a half-pound patty of fresh Angus beef, Tamayo said.
“The Angus beef is really good quality, and people like to know what they’re eating and what they they’re paying for,” Tamayo said. “Everything is fresh [not frozen], and you can tell right away that it’s good meat.”
Hippo Burgers also offers wings, hot dogs and grilled cheese at its restaurant on Wilson Road.
In addition, the restaurant serves hand-spun shakes made with Blue Bell ice cream and a variety of sides including Cajun, garlic, sweet potato and chili cheese fries, and onion rings.
The restaurant has gained a following in the Lake Houston area because the owners ensure quality by cooking the food and serving the customers themselves, Tamayo said.
Tamayo runs the cash register and the front end while Cardenas and Velez man the kitchen.
Cardenas and Velez, who had worked together in the restaurant business previously, originally opened Hippo Burgers in June 2014 at a small restaurant space on North Houston Avenue in Humble. They closed a year later to find a bigger space that had more parking options.
Together, Cardenas, Velez and Tamayo reopened Hippo Burgers in August 2016. Now, the counter-service restaurant has 800 square feet and 14 tables of indoor seating.
“The first location was very small with no parking; [It was] kind of uncomfortable for the customers because it was small and had no air conditioning,” Tamayo said.
Cardenas and Velez chose the unique name of the restaurant because it is catchy.
“They chose the name Hippo Burgers because they were thinking of something big that would describe or identify the burger. Hippo was easy to remember and big,” Tamayo said.