Herbert Guardado was not overly concerned when he lost his job at Verizon Wireless in 2020 as the country struggled through early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve been wanting to open a food truck or food trailer for a couple of years, but I was scared to make that jump because I worked the corporate life for so many years,” Guardado said. “Being laid off, ... I guess that was God telling me, ‘Alright, this is your chance.’”
Guardado opened Herbeato’s Latin Inspired Food in April 2021. Located in The Food Zone in Porter, the food trailer offers an array of dishes inspired by Guardado’s travels throughout Mexico and Central America. Even the name Herbeato’s was inspired by a story from Guardado’s youth.
“My grandmother couldn’t pronounce my name,” Guardado said. “She didn’t know English, so she called me ‘Herbito.’ We took ‘Herbito’ and instead of the ‘I,’ we replaced it with ‘eat.’”
According to Guardado, opening the new business has come along with its fair share of challenges as he had never before worked in the restaurant industry.
To overcome the steep learning curve, Guardado has taken wisdom from his partner, Nikki Roberts, who has more than 10 years of industry experience. Roberts is in charge of Herbeato’s marketing.
As far as the food is concerned, Guardado said the queso birria tacos and fried loaded potato balls have been customer favorites.
While Herbeato’s is restricted to outdoor seating, Guardado said he aims to make the food trailer feel like an indoor restaurant.
Looking to the future, Guardado said he hopes to be able to expand with another food trailer in Conroe, where he grew up. Eventually, he said he would like to open a brick-and-mortar location, which he said would allow him to expand the restaurant’s offerings.
“I’m very blessed to do what I do,” he said. “Sometimes, you just have to jump because you’ll never know if you don’t jump or try.”
Herbeato’s Latin Inspired Food
23242 FM 1314, Porter
Hours: Tue.-Thu. 4-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. noon-9 p.m., closed Sun.-Mon.
Porter food trailer owner turns layoff into new business opportunity with Herbeato's Latin Inspired Food
Queso birria tacos ($15): Three tacos are filled with marinated beef, Oaxaca cheese, onions and cilantro. (Courtesy Herbeato's Latin Inspired Food)