Tucked away on FM 2351 and Blackhawk Boulevard in Friendswood, Habaneros Tex-Mex Kitchen has been serving customers for just over a year.
After more than 10 years in the food service industry, owner Benjamin Mendez opened Habaneros in March 2015 as a way to share a taste of his mother’s recipes with the community.
“[Opening the restaurant] was me and my mom’s idea,” he said. “We just saw the location, and it seemed like there’s a lot of traffic in this area. We thought we’d give it a shot and open something up.”
The desire to leave the corporate restaurant scene also aided in his decision to start the venture, Mendez said. After about a year of planning, Habaneros became a reality.
“I was definitely done waiting tables,” he said. “We borrowed money from family and friends, and we had a little bit saved up. We just went ahead and opened it up.”
Although the Toluca, Mexico, native said his mom’s cooking will always outshine his own, Mendez said he can replicate the dishes at his restaurant.
“My mom is the main one who created all the dishes,” he said. “I know how to execute them, but I don’t really [adjust] the [recipes] of them.”
The menu, which includes a mix of authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex options, was compiled through family recipes and experience his mother gained cooking at other restaurants.
Habaneros offers breakfast, lunch and dinner menu options. The restaurant features daily specials and allows diners to bring their own alcoholic beverages while Mendez is in the process of applying for a beer and wine license. In the future, Mendez said he would like to offer brunch on weekends.
The carne guisada, stuffed poblano pepper and street tacos are some of the most popular dishes, Mendez said.
The food is prepared in front of customers in Habaneros’ open kitchen. Patrons can sit at the eatery’s bar and watch as their meal is cooked.
“You can definitely see what’s going on in front of your eyes,” Mendez said. “You can see how we make everything. That’s just a different atmosphere right there.”