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About Alicia’s Mexican Grille

Alicia’s Mexican Grille

A Northwest Mecca for the Fajita-and-Margarita Crowd

By Sharon Carter

David Herrera’s culinary adventure began at a very young age on his grandfather’s farm in El Salvador. By the time he was a teenager, he had come into his natural-born leadership qualities, and his grandfather put him in charge of a thirty-member work crew. Today, he is still managing a large group of men and women in the operation of his restaurants.

Even though he did not know a word of English, at the age of eighteen, his grandparents sent him to Houston. Like so many immigrants before him, he fell into the restaurant business. Seven years later, he joined Tony Vallone’s fast growing empire as a front waiter at Anthony’s. His desire to move up to captain took him into the kitchen.

In his efforts to be the very best captain at Anthony’s, Herrera knew he needed to be able to describe how each dish was prepared, and with what ingredients. He asked the chefs in the kitchen for help, and from them he learned how the sauces were made, which cooking techniques were used for what, and the art of plate presentation, the very skills that he would one day use in his own restaurants.

To achieve his dream of one day opening his own restaurant, during his time off from his fulltime job, Herrera bought and renovated homes with the help of his wife Alicia and their three sons, Ubaldo, Marvin and Dario, and saved their money. After fourteen years of hard work, the Herrera family opened their first restaurant with Herrera’s brother. Shortly thereafter, the Herreras opened Alicia’s Mexican Grille, in Cypress, Texas, a suburb northwest of Houston, which is named after the love of his life, Alicia, his wife. The restaurant was enthusiastically received by their customers. With his wife and his two older sons, Marvin and Ubaldo, beside him, they created a destination restaurant that soon outgrew its space. In the fall of 2008, they moved to a freestanding, 8,000 square-foot building, where they often serve 600 diners a night, and receive rave reviews from their diners and critics, alike.

“I could not do it without the support of my wife and sons, they are my right hands,” Herrera stated.