Saul and Maria Martinez have achieved their dream to own a restaurant after decades of hard work and determination.Main Street Taqueria opened its doors last Thursday in a quaint space at the corner …
Saul and Maria Martinez have achieved their dream to own a restaurant after decades of hard work and determination.
Main Street Taqueria opened its doors last Thursday in a quaint space at the corner of 19th Street East and Corona Avenue in downtown Jasper. Saul and Maria briefly stepped away from cooking at the restaurant Tuesday to tell their story with the help of their son, Jose Martinez.
The Martinezes started their journey in Michoacán, Mexico, and when Jose was a young boy, he moved with his parents to Houston, Texas. The family later fell on hard times and moved to Jasper two decades ago. They had a relative who worked in Jasper, and they thought it would be a good place to start over.
"We came here with nothing. Basically just a few bags of clothes and a few pieces of furniture. We slept on blow up mattresses when we came to Jasper," Jose said. "We had filed bankruptcy. It was hard in Houston. We moved here, and we saw opportunities here."
Saul started his own lawn care business in Jasper, which Jose now manages, and Saul has also worked for Jim Woods of Jasper Auto Sales for many years — a man he credits with helping him be able to open Main Street Taqueria.
"He did everything for us," Jose said, adding that Woods gave his father the freedom to take time away from work to get the restaurant up and running.
Prior to opening Main Street Taqueria, Saul and Maria frugally saved money that they placed in a bucket, in hopes of one day using it to open a restaurant. When the building Main Street Taqueria is now located in became available last August, Jose contacted his parents to tell them they should consider the opportunity to open a restaurant there.
Dustin Beaty owns the space they were interested in, along with Lavish, just next door. As fate would have it, Jose had done lawn work for Beaty, and he expressed his interest in the vacant building.
"The Beatys just basically handed me the key and said 'Let's make this dream come true.' Dustin Beaty has done a lot for our family," Jose said. "Without him, we could not have done this here."
Saul is not a stranger to the restaurant scene in Jasper. He said he has been employed at Pepito's, Perico's and Cabos San Lucus in the city, and he also managed a restaurant in Houston. Maria is familiar with prep work in the kitchen and has also been employed at Perico's.
Main Street Taqueria has all the traditional Mexican fare, including nachos, quesadillas, tortas, gorditas, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, tamales, taco salads, chimichangas, chile rellenos, tostadas and burritos. Customers can also choose from appetizers of cheese dip, guacamole dip and chorizo, and specialty entrees of carne asada and arroz con pollo are available.
Two kids meals of chicken fingers and fries, or hot dog and fries, come with a soft drink.
Jose said the majority of the menu's recipes come from their native Michoacán, and they pride themselves on their homemade tortillas.
The Martinezes spent weeks renovating the restaurant space, which has six tables in the modern dining room, along with seating options outside. They hope to expand their outdoor seating in the coming weeks.
Jose said many people donated their time to help remodel the location.
Since opening their doors last Thursday, Jose said they have seen much success.
"We've had great feedback, and a lot of families come in," he said.
The restaurant will have a ribbon-cutting Thursday at 2 p.m., and Jose said his parents are hopeful to open a second restaurant one day.
Main Street Taqueria is open Monday through Thursday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Sunday.