Street tacos, burgers and seafood
Tania Segovia smiles when she talks about how she became the owner of three Grapevine restaurants next door to each other, each with its own distinctive atmosphere and menu.
Baja Grill, the largest, sits on the corner and offers a slice of Mexican oceanfront dining. El Taco.H Taqueria, in the middle of the three restaurants, features authentic Mexican-style tacos. Next is Peace Burger Dive Bar and Grill, an aptly named combo burger joint and sports bar.
"We never really intended for it to be like this," Segovia says. "We really just reacted when the opportunity came along."
In 2005, the Segovia family faced a dilemma at Baja Grill. The 3-year-old restaurant already had expanded once.
The first time was an easy decision. Baja Grill was at the corner spot in the Grapevine strip mall at William D. Tate Avenue and Hwy. 114. The business to the south had closed and Baja quickly swallowed up the space by expanding the kitchen, adding a party room and creating offices.
Now the landlord was calling again. This time, the dry cleaner to the west of Baja was shutting down. Did the Segovia family want that space too?
"We did," Segovia says. "But we didn't want to expand with the same idea but with a different concept. Part of the decision was that we liked what the Baja Grill was. We wanted to keep things small so that we could continue with good quality food and good service."
With El Taco.H, "we wanted to focus on counter service and authentic food, make it feel like you were back on the streets in Mexico," she says.
Both restaurants proved successful.
So in 2007 when the landlord called again—this time it was the Chinese restaurant west of El Taco.H. closing down—the Segovia family didn't hesitate to open Peace Burger.
Segovia says each restaurant built its own distinctive clientele.
"The Baja Grill owes its success to the residents of Grapevine," she says. "We don't get people from Dallas or DFW Airport or hotels around here. The people that come in here are regulars. They live here. We know them, love them and take care of them."
Segovia is especially proud that many policemen and firemen from the City of Grapevine often stop for a Baja meal.
El Taco.H is an authentic taqueria. Segovia has added more seating since it opened and the menu also features a strong line of burritos.
Not surprisingly and fitting for its name, Peace Burgers maintains a low-key, relaxed atmosphere.
Regulars during the day include employees from the nearby car dealerships and workers from DFW International Airport.
"It's laid back," Segovia says. "It's very popular late at night because most of the places around here close down at 10 or 11, and Peace Burger stays open until 2 a.m."
The later hours draw a crowd, Segovia says.
"We almost always have a large crowd of employees from nearby restaurants in here after they shut down. They relax and socialize and have a good time."
Segovia won't say whether she has a fourth restaurant concept planned in case anything else nearby shuts down.
"We are just going to concentrate on what we have open now," she says. "That's enough."
All in the family
Tania's daughter Gloria Segovia, who graduated from the University of North Texas with an advertising degree, provided much of the atmosphere at the family's three restaurants. She developed the T-shirts with catchy phrases that are popular at Baja, picked out the wrestling masks and photos that adorn the walls at El Taco.H, and helped fill up the Peace Burger windows with its bumper-type stickers. Gloria has opened her own restaurant in Keller, the Funky Baja's Cantina.
Tania Segovia says the key to her restaurants' success is the employees.
"My employees don't leave," she says. "They stay with us a long time and that is a big part of what makes us successful. It is also one of the ways I know that we are doing things right."
Segovia family restaurants in Grapevine
Baja Grill, 1228 William D. Tate, Grapevine, 817-481-3422, www.bajamexgrill.com, Sun.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
El Taco. H Taqueria, 1228 William D. Tate, Grapevine, 817-481-3443, www.eltacoh.com, Sun.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
Peace Burger Dive Bar and Grill, 1228 William D. Tate, Grapevine, 817-410-4074,www.peaceburger.net, Sun.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–12 a.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–2 a.m.