Changing hearts one taco at a time
The Mexican culture is steeped in rich tradition, and one of the most celebrated elements of the tradition is food. Uno problemo: once Jesse and Denise Hernandez learned the specific details of how meat gets to market, they knew animal products could no longer be a part of their lives.
A unique opportunity was staring Jesse in the face, but he knew it wouldn’t be easy. How does one recreate traditional Mexican dishes using only plant-based products? This would require an expert, Hernandez thought. He enlisted the help of the best down-home, authentic Mexican food chef he knew: his mom. They rolled up their sleeves and began experimenting in the kitchen. And thus, Veegos Mexican Restaurant was born.
“It was never about our health, although that is an amazing added benefit,” noted Hernandez. “We couldn’t bear contributing to the mistreatment and slaughter of animals, especially knowing that so many plant sources exist that fulfill all our dietary needs.”
Planting the seed
Hernandez spent the early stages of Veegos partnering with local breweries and other businesses to set up canopies outside their establishments and sell a few items to their customers. The response was so positive that a physical location was the natural next step. Hernandez assumed a small space would do, so he leased a quaint location in Westchase District. Within months, growth demanded they move to a larger space. Veegos moved across Westheimer and settled in at 10932 Westheimer. “I am a big fan of this area of town and the people who work and live here,” said Hernandez.
Freshness is key at Veegos and it shows in the quality and taste of the food. Using only locally-sourced ingredients from area farmers markets, everything is preservative free and created from scratch on site. The customers take notice. “We have customers tell us constantly that our food takes them back to their grandmother’s kitchen in Mexico, and that’s an incredible compliment to receive. There’s nothing better than grandma’s comfort food,” said Denise.
The menu includes traditional favorites like tacos, nachos, enchiladas and horchata, plus a few American staples like burgers and loaded fries.
Cultivating the garden
When asked about the best part of being in this business, Denise explained, “Converting non-vegans to a no-animal product lifestyle, we’re saving animals lives, one human at a time. Educating people and changing their mindset toward food, showing them that you can still enjoy traditional dishes without the use of animal meat, it’s why we do what we do.”
The future of the business is promising, and the Hernandez team is taking it one step at a time. They’re currently building a food truck and hope to expand in the coming years. “The goal is to have a few food trucks in different areas of town to test receptivity,” Jesse says. “And wherever we find success, we’d like to add another physical location to that area.”
10932 Westheimer Road