When Cy-Fair residents Han Thik and Vanney Chin opened their own restaurant in May 2014, the couple poured everything they had into the venture. After working in the kitchen at other seafood restaurants for years, they decided they were ready to run one themselves.
"We took a huge risk to do something we love to do," Thik said. "We really sacrificed everything we had to make this work."
Business got off to a slow start for the husband-and-wife duo, but their seafood and Cajun specialties—namely fried catfish, and fried shrimp—have earned them a base of regular customers, including teachers from area schools and local office workers from the nearby Interflex Group.
The menu, which was revamped in December, also features American favorites like cheeseburgers and chicken-fried steak. Customers can order lunch specials that allow them to customize entrees with sides such as hush puppies, corn nuggets and baked potatoes for an additional charge.
"We do a lot of the seafood and Cajun favorites, but we use our own recipes that we developed and improved over our time in the restaurant business," Thik said. "A lot of customers especially like our gumbo and etoueffes."
The seashell and exotic flower decorations that adorn the restaurant's walls as a part of its tropical island decor complement the seafood theme reflected in Mini's menu. As a small side project, Chin also sells handmade flower decorations crafted by stretching colorful fabrics over flexible metal wires. The craft decorations are displayed on a table at the front of the restaurant.
"They're made with materials that I have to have shipped in from outside the country because I cannot find them here," Chin said. "I think [the materials] add to the uniqueness. [The decorations] were a big hit with customers over the holidays."
Mini's location has made it a hit among diners who live and work in the community, but attracting a larger crowd has proven to be a challenge for the owners. However, Thik said he remains dedicated to providing the best food he can for his customers.
"The two of us are here every day of the week, from open until close," he said. "The first year has not been easy, but our customers give us a lot of positive reviews, which keeps us motivated. This restaurant really means a lot to us, and we hope to see more customers this year. This restaurant means everything to us, and we are committed to doing everything we can to make it work."