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.
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.
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.