Today we’d like to introduce you to Carlos Ramos.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Carlos. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Latin Bites started back in 2009 as a family-owned home-based catering business. We used to serve Latin American food for private events in a small-bite format, and that is how the name “Latin Bites” came about. A year later we opened a very small brick-and-mortar restaurant downtown, which received good reviews from customers and specialized press alike. The following year we moved to a much larger place in the Galleria area where we have been for the last 5 years.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
As with every small business, it has not been a smooth ride. Houston’s restaurant industry is so dynamic and competitive that it comes as no surprise that over 50% of restaurants fail within the first year. We consider ourselves fortunate to remain in this market after almost 7 years since we first started the catering business.
Being an ethnic restaurant has had its pros and cons. For instance, we are a restaurant with a very unique menu, which is great if you are an adventurous diner, but that might not be appealing to the mainstream diner. For this reason we’ve had to make some changes to our original menu and adjust our concept to adapt and survive in Houston’s ever-changing dining scene.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Latin Bites story. Tell us more about the business.
We are essentially a Latin American restaurant with a very strong focus on Peruvian cuisine. As a family owned and operated business we take pride in offering the most authentic Peruvian ingredients to produce some traditional dishes from Peru like “Ceviche” – fresh raw fish lightly marinated in chili peppers, and a ginger-garlic lime juice sauce called “Leche de tigre” or the “Lomo Saltado”, a Peruvian-Chinese dish of wok sautéed beef tenderloin pieces in a red wine, garlic, oyster and soy sauce; or the Peruvian street food staple “Anticuchos” Grilled skewers of beef heart marinated in a mix of specialty peppers and spices from Peru.
What set us apart is our ability to offer a variety of food that is unique in flavor and technique. In that sense, we don’t do Asian fusion because it is trendy, we do it because it’s in Peruvian cuisine’s DNA. Or we don’t just cook Quinoa because everyone is doing it, but because that is what we eat in Peru.
Result of this natural fusion of flavors was the winning dish of last years’ Woodlands Wine & Food Week Chef of Chefs competition. A Yellowfin ahi tuna tiradito in a passion fruit leche de tigre with quinoa and purple potato chips.
We also feel proud and thankful to be among the top 25 restaurants in Houston according to Houston Chronicle’s food critic Alison Cook. Latin Bites has been on her Top 100 List for the last 5 consecutive years.
“This modern Peruvian restaurant is Houston’s most consistent purveyor of the South American flavors that are an increasingly important element of our civic cuisine” Alison Cook
Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years? Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc?
In today’s market customers are dining out more often and have higher expectations. In addition to great service, they want food that taste good, looks good and possibly makes them feel good. Therefore, they will continue to search for more options on healthy food items as well as being able to get food on demand through online platforms.
As I mentioned, Houston’s restaurant industry is so large and dynamic that as business owners we have to stay always on top of our game to be ready to adapt to the waves of change.
- Address: 5709 Woodway Dr.
Houston, TX 77057
- Website: www.latinbitescafe.com
- Phone: 7137057467
- Email: email@example.com
Food and Vine Time Productions (Check picture)
Latin Bites (all other pictures)