Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacqueline Garza.
Jacqueline, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My dad opened La Casa summer of 2016. Business was ok, not that many people but he managed. In 2017, my dad finally realized his restaurant was struggling on a busy street in Northside. He would wake up at 5:30 am every morning to bake pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread) and prepare all the food. He hand makes every tortilla, every chip, even the filling in the bread. In my opinion the food was amazing, it was authentic and fresh every day, but the people of Houston, Texas weren’t aware… yet. My dad was throwing racks and racks of bread. Every piece he was making he was throwing it away. This honestly broke my heart but I had no idea to get people through the door.
Fast forward to around thanksgiving of 2017, I overheard my dad telling my mom that he had plans on selling the whole restaurant. For the first time in my life I had saw the strongest person I know, giving up. He decided to hold off until the new year (2018) to finalize a sale. During the school year, I would always get my friends with cars to take me to my restaurant to eat (it was really just an excuse to get people in the door) Sometimes there was like 2 or 4 tables. Most of the time it was empty.
On the faithful day of December 6, 2017, My friend took me to La Casa to eat and I noticed my dad was making bread. I decided it would be a good idea to record my dad as he was creating art. Went back to school and during my history class, I decided to make a short one minute video on iMovie (later posted on twitter). I uploaded it almost as soon as the bell rang. I needed this to be a call to action so it read (in all caps), “Hey yall my dad has a little panaderia / restaurant. He makes all of the pan dulce himself. He had been thinking about closing but I could not let that happen, spread the word 1 RT could bring in a potential customer! La Casa Bakery and Cafe 1002 Hogan Street 77009 (two crying emojis). After tweeting that I really didn’t think much about the tweet honestly. My twitter notifications were off so it wasn’t until later that night that I realized that it was getting A LOT of attention… fast. I was at 10,000 retweets that night. My dad picked me up from my closing shift at Pappasittos and I jokingly told him, “If you see two new customers tomorrow, you can thank me.” Little did we know that we would meet a lot more than two new customers.
On December 9th 2017, I did my very first interview with ABC Houston. For the rest of my time in high school, I spent every single lunch period doing an interview for a year straight. Since then I have told my story to over 25+ News Networks, magazines, media outlets. On January 28, 2018 I was in the front page of the Houston Chronicle. Interviews including BBC, ABC National, Fox, Univision and two weeks ago I was on Despierta America. The University of Downtown Houston even wrote a children’s book about my bakery. Now I have the pleasure of telling my story through Voyage. Through all of this not only did my dad not sell La Casa but the restaurant is thriving now! I haven’t seen my dad throw a single piece of bread since. The best part of this whole experience was seeing the support on the internet reflect in person. We are now able serve a vast array of Houstonians that we would have never reached out to if it wasn’t for the internet. A lot of those new people have become regulars and we see new faces every week as well.
With this also came a lot of personal growth as well. I am now a sophomore at the University of St.Thomas, and I am majoring in Marketing just like I said I would in my Houston Chronicle interview. By managing the restaurants Instagram, Twitter, Yelp page and Google business page, I am gaining experience in my field. I also designed the menu, the logo and added business cards to our little restaurant. I am so proud to be a representation of my parents and appreciate every aspect of my culture. I hope to one day run the restaurant and keep tradition alive!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Most of the challenges were definitely at the very beginning when I was trying to get customers through the door. It definitely took my family and I some time to get used more customers than what we were used to, but in the past year we learned that it takes it communication amongst all of us to help manage. There’s no complaints though.
Please tell us about La Casa Bakery and Cafe.
La Casa Bakery is most known for being authentic Mexican food NOT the fake stuff. A lot of people identify the taste of the food to remind them of home (Mexico). Our menu is small but consistent. From our b for sure we are most known for the conchas my dad makes. If you go on yelp and type conchas in Houston we pop up as #3. He makes every single piece of the traditional sweet bread by hand. In the restaurant aspect our Menudo takes the crown, my dad prepares everything from the pig foot to the broth. No one makes Menudo like my dad. As a restaurant what we are most proud of is definitely having the opportunity to tell our story nationwide, spreading the culture. What sets us apart from others is like I had mentioned previously is the authenticity of our food. Its made to order, never cold, never not fresh.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from my childhood is definitely my summers spent in Guanajuato, Mexico with my grandma. She would cook every single day and I loved sitting in the kitchen smelling the flavors and watching her cook. The appreciation for my culture goes way back. I remember we would go down the street and pick up fresh tortillas and pan dulce every morning.
- Menudo $9.99
- Concha .70 cents
- Huevos Rancheros $4.99
- Address: 1002 Hogan Street 77009 Houston Texas
- Phone: 713-485-6426
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lacasabakeryandcafe/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lacasabakeryandcafe/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/casabakery?lang=en
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-casa-bakery-and-cafe-houston?uid=dXBFyL9silwqNkKIQV_E3Q&utm_campaign=www_business_share_popup&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=(direct)
- Other: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/retail/article/A-tweet-saved-this-Houston-teen-s-family-business-12529051.php