When co-owner Thelma Portillo established The Wheel Kitchen, a farm-to-table cafe in Tomball, she said she wanted her restaurant to serve a purpose. The cafe, which opened in October 2016, offers breakfast and lunch dishes made with homemade, organic or farm-raised ingredients from local farmers.

“It is all a circle,” said Portillo, who operates the cafe with her husband, Dennis Ubeda. “We are all on the same page. [Dennis and I] want to help our community by supporting local farmers and producers. Our inspiration is to provide real food to our customers.”

The made-from-scratch dishes are pumped with nutritional value with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables, Portillo said.

For example, menu items like The Wheel Buddha Bowl feature varying ingredients depending on the season. In February, the bowl featured roasted vegetables, a spinach blend, organic brown rice, quinoa, roasted chicken breast and an herbed chia yogurt sauce.

“We don’t buy anything that is premade or precooked,” Portillo said.

Farm-to-table is a movement that promotes serving local food at restaurants through direct purchase from the producers, Portillo said.

“This is something I strongly believe,” Portillo said. “I believe in helping the community. I believe in building the community.”

In addition to food items, the cafe also offers organic coffee and packaged items, such as jam and salsa, from local vendors. On Fridays, a live band performs in the evening.

A sense of community is stitched throughout the establishment. The community table, which can seat more than 10 people, is aligned at the middle of the dining area. Portillo said guests may come alone or with a group and begin conversations with others that may have never happened outside the cafe.

“They find each other here and have a good time,” she said.

Portillo said teaching her customers about a healthier lifestyle is key to supporting local businesses and improving the quality of food for her customers.

“People try it, like it and come back,” Portillo said. “They feel it in their bodies. They can tell what they are eating is completely different.”

The Wheel Kitchen
25510 Zion Lutheran Cemetery Road, Tomball
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Fri. 6-9 p.m., closed Sundays