Austin, Texas – Small Business Saturday is essential for many locally owned businesses, and Central Texas is always supporting her newest venture thanks to the community Gabriela Bucio has created.
“This is my office in a house downtown,” says Bucio, showing us the headquarters of Gabriela’s Group, the company behind the famous restaurant Gabriela’s. “This is where we keep all our goods.”
Gabriela Bucio is a Mexican woman from Sinaloa. Her business also owns Gabriela’s South, Taquero Mucho Downtown and Domain, Revival Coffee, Mala Vida and Seareinas.
“People follow me on Instagram, people follow me on social media, and yes, it looks cool online, but we make it look cool and fun,” says Bucio. “There’s a lot of work behind the scenes that people can’t see.”
Bucio is meeting with the marketing and events team today, the people she says make things happen. She boasts that she has never posted a job ad for this group, talent has always been knocking on her door.
“I look up to them a lot and they keep things fresh,” says Bucio.
She says the young group reminds her of where her journey began.
“When I moved here from the Valley, from McAllen, Texas, I started working as a bartender to make extra money so I could afford to go to all the music shows Austin has to offer , and I’ve developed a passion for creating cocktails and creating drinks,” says Bucio. “My brother Arturo already ran his own restaurants and so does my younger brother Salvador, so it was only natural that we got together and built our own thing , our own restaurant.”
With their skills, knowledge and passion, they’ve built an empire in central Texas centered on a community they didn’t see represented here.
“Mexican or Latino venues, we’re located on the outskirts of Austin. I don’t know why that was, but I wanted to offer my fellow Latinos a closer venue,” says Bucio.
With this in mind, she set to work, but admitting that things were not easy, this businesswoman says that her success is based on her hard work.
“Well, I think the hardest part was that we didn’t get any credit, we don’t have credit, I don’t have generational wealth, so we literally didn’t have to start with anything,” Bucio said.
Some in the community have dubbed her la Reina del Sur, Queen of the South, with traces of her humble beginnings still visible at her first signature restaurant, Gabriela’s Downtown.
“If you look at Gabriela Downtown, it’s the same, my landlord gave me the furniture, it’s used furniture, I was the bartender, the waiter, my brother was in the kitchen cooking and my fiancé helped us wash the dishes,” Bucio says. “It was really difficult at first, but luckily in a short space of time we were able to be successful where we started hiring people.”
She credits her community for this success and fills a void in Austin that has long been ignored.
“It’s not like I’m doing these things on purpose, I’m just myself and I’m authentic and I mean I don’t know any other way,” Bucio said. “Like I’m not just sitting around here [thinking] How can I create this to achieve this? We’re just ourselves.”
Slated to open any day, Gabriela’s Houston plans to open franchised restaurants across the state and ultimately across the country.