Baja Cantina and Fiesta brings authentic Mexican taste to The Waterway

Diners can make a taco plate ($13.50) that consists of two tacos, rice and beans. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Diners can make a taco plate ($13.50) that consists of two tacos, rice and beans. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Diners can make a taco plate ($13.50) that consists of two tacos, rice and beans. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Rosarito grilled shrimp taco and carne asada taco ($5 each) are served with fresh made tortillas. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
The Baja Fiesta Board ($15) offers three salsas, fresh guacamole and queso with chorizo. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Kevin Crowell is joined by managing partner Ismael Hernandez and Elber Rodriguez. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Before Baja Cantina and Fiesta found its home at The Woodlands Waterway, the restaurant got its start operating out of a food truck on Gosling Road for around a year.

Upon hearing of a space opening at The Woodlands Waterway, General Manager Kevin Crowell said he and his partners chose to open at that location in May, not long after COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect and limited the patron capacity of restaurants in the area.

However, despite this, the restaurant has been doing well as it approaches its first anniversary, according to Crowell.

Authentic tastes

Crowell said he and his partners have previous experience operating restaurants in Southern California to build on.

“We wanted to try something different, so we moved to Texas and opened the food truck,” Crowell said. “Our concept for the food ... is a lot of authentic recipes from [our partners’] families.”

Crowell said the restaurant’s team focuses on using fresh ingredients and making everything in house, from the tortillas to the spicy salsas, and they blend it with a Southern California style.

Managing partner Ismael Hernandez helps oversee the menu and said he wanted to bring a little bit of Mexico to the area.

“I am from a really small town in Mexico that people do not go to,” he said. “It has things that people do not get to try. I wanted to bring my mother’s and my grandmother’s recipes and put them on a plate here in The Woodlands.”

Hernandez said the idea was to have food on the plates that reminded them of home.

Crowell said there are some Americanized staples that have been added to the menu, such as nacho cheese, but for the most part the menu is focused on Mexican street food.

To keep the menu fresh, Crowell said Baja Cantina and Fiesta offers daily specials incorporating fusion options as well.

Surviving coronavirus

Crowell said a slight delay in Baja Cantina and Fiesta’s opening proved to be fortunate as earlier in the week restaurants had been allowed to shift from operating from curbside and delivery only to operating at 25% dine-in capacity.

“I think the future is looking great,” Crowell said. “People are really liking what we are doing, and we are not even out of [the pandemic] yet.”

Looking to the future, Crowell and Hernandez said they want to open more locations around the area, although they have no intention to become a chain.

“We really want to show our style,” Crowell said.

Crowell said the location will also add more live music options to the restaurant, including mariachi. Currently, live Latin music is available on the weekends.

“Just remember it is OK to try something different,” Hernandez said. “Let us work with you, and keep an open mind when you come here.”

Baja Cantina and Fiesta

24 Waterway Ave., Ste. 160, The Woodlands


Hours: Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tue.-Wed. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-1 a.m., closed Mon.
By Andrew Christman
Andrew joined Community Impact Newspaper in early 2019 after moving from Indiana. He is a 2015 graduate from Indiana State University, where he received degrees in English and journalism. He has written for a number of small town publications throughout his career as a reporter.


The deadline is May 17 for residents to protest their appraised property values set by the Harris County Appraisal District earlier this year, and officials are encouraging protesters to take online options into account. (Courtesy Pexels)
Harris County residents have until May 17 to protest property values

High demand for residential properties along with a shrinking inventory of homes translated into a roughly 8%-10% increase in residential values on average across the county this year

Montgomery County commissioners will convene May 11 for a regular court session. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Commissioners propose resolution objecting to groundwater production that supplies areas outside Montgomery County

Commissioners will vote to approve a resolution relating to groundwater use May 11 following a withdrawn proposal for a controversial water-bottling deal in Conroe.

The Westwood Magnolia Parkway Improvement District is funding an extension of Woodtrace Boulevard from Hwy. 249 in Magnolia to FM 2978. (Screenshot via Google)
Proposed Woodtrace Boulevard extension to connect Hwy. 249 and FM 2978

The Westwood Magnolia Parkway Improvement District is funding an extension of Woodtrace Boulevard that will connect Hwy. 249 in Magnolia to FM 2978 just south of the Woodlands Parkway.

Election bills among priority of 87th Texas Legislative session

Local lawmakers Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, and Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, have said among their priorities in the 87th Texas Legislature are a series of bills aimed at election integrity.

Live performances in the area include Kaitlin Butts on May 27 at Dosey Doe. (Courtesy Kaitlin Butts)
Where to see live music in The Woodlands area in May and June

Live music performances are scheduled at a number of venues in The Woodlands area in May and June, including outdoors for Waterway Nights.

The University of St. Thomas is a private Catholic college in Houston. It also has a microcampus in downtown Conroe. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
University of St. Thomas offering free tuition to first 500 students who apply

The online degrees are in the following fields: cybersecurity, network technology, electronic technology, general business, and alcohol and drug dependency counseling.

Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 has begun construction on the first of three phases for its new 43-acre, state-of-the-art campus located in Spring, according to a May 7 news release. (Courtesy Cypress Creek EMS)
Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 begins construction on new 43-acre campus

The campus will house ESD No. 11's new ambulance service, which is scheduled to launch Sept. 4 when the district's contract with current service provider, Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services, expires.

FM 2978 has been under construction since 2018.
(Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Work on FM 2978 continues with expected completion date this summer

The project, begun in 2018, is expected to wrap in the second quarter of 2021.

Tomball Star Academy will celebrate its senior class May 27 with a graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. at the Magnolia Event Center, according to district information. Students will graduate virtually from LSC-Tomball on May 13, according to LSCS information. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
'They’ve created the legacy:' Inaugural class to graduate May 27 from Tomball ISD's early college high school program

The inaugural class of 95 students has been instrumental in paving the way for the students yet to finish the program, said Kelly Marchiando, the principal of Tomball Star Academy since January.

The Texas Department of State Health Services projects a significant shortage of nurses by 2032. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Why Texas faces a growing nursing shortage and what can be done to address it

In 2018, the state health department estimated about 11% of the demand for nurses was not able to be met, and that number is expected to rise to 16.3% by 2032.