AUSTIN, Texas — As part of KVUE's celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we visited Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ in South Austin to meet the proud Tejano behind the restaurant's beloved food.
"Valentina’s started with the idea of wanting to represent what I felt was true Tejano cooking," owner Miguel Vidal said.
Vidal grew up in a big Tejano family. Every get-together centered around delicious comida.
"My uncle and dad would always barbecue, and my grandma was making tortillas, rice, beans, aguacate, salsa. Those times mean a lot to me. I wanted to represent what’s going on in the backyard and share my culture," Vidal said.
As a Tejano business owner, Vidal wanted to create a legacy, a drive that his children could be inspired by to hopefully do the same. But that journey didn’t come without challenges.
"I feel like I speak like everybody else. I’m an American but I have Mexican heritage. There were times where I didn’t receive certain things or I couldn’t get ahead," Vidal said.
But he never gave up – a determination he inherited from his parents.
"I’ve had to kind of scratch and claw, just not give up. Watching my parents work hard their whole life and do anything for us, I have that same drive," Vidal said.
And it has paid off. Valentina’s is beloved by all of Austin and many more. The restaurant put such a unique twist on traditional Texas barbecue that people travel from all over the world just to get a bite of what they’re serving.
"Just being able to represent for the Tejano culture and seeing people from Norway, Sweden and across the world come here and eat our food, that’s something to be said," Vidal said. "I’m very proud of that."
To learn more about Vidal's story and to get a taste of what Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ has to offer, check out the restaurant's Instagram.
MORE KVUE PROFILES:
- 'All people are welcome' | How one Williamson County LGBTQ Pride celebration inspired another
- Austin community leaders share their Pride stories
- 'We are human beings' | The AAPI community is speaking up against hatred and discrimination
- Ramen Tatsu-Ya offers ramen with a side of cultural education
- Austin is home to the most followed beekeeper in the world