The Hernandez family lived in Port Aransas for over 40 years, and they said they never intended to leave—not even when Hurricane Harvey was bustling toward them in August 2017.
“From the time my dad was 7 years old, he knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to be a cook,” Avery Hernandez, known as Little Avery, said.
Avery’s father, hailed by customers as Big Avery, began working in restaurants when he was 12 years old. He worked his way up from stocking groceries to bussing tables and eventually cooking, before opening Avery’s Kitchen in 2011. He said it was his dream.
Then came Hurricane Harvey. At first, Big Avery and his wife, Sandy, planned to stay through the storm, but once they noticed other islanders were evacuating they decided to leave.
New Braunfels became a temporary home. When they were finally able to go back to Port A, they said it took 1 1/2 hours to remove the debris from the front porch so they could walk inside the restaurant. Finally able to open the door, they saw the water had risen up to 5 feet in the building.
When the Hernandez family realized they were not going to be able to save the restaurant, they hoped to get help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or acquire a small loan to purchase a second-generation restaurant in the New Braunfels area. However, they were not able to do either.
Instead, they were approached by a developer who wanted to help them out and get them back on their feet, which is how they ended up in Freiheit Village in May 2018.
“The rest has just been one blessing after another,” Little Avery said.
The Hernandez family said they take pride in their food, which is why they have a large line window.
“No matter where my dad is at, he can look out here and see people enjoying his food,” Little Avery said.
Family members said everything is made to order, and Avery’s Kitchen even has its own blend made at a coffee roaster in San Antonio.
“I want you to come back. I want you to have the best experience possible,” Little Avery said.