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Salvador Chavez knows the restaurant business backwards and forwards, having spent 35 years working for the Pappas family, whose Houston food service dynasty is widely known.

Chavez, who came to the United States from the state of Michoacan in Mexico, said he started at age 15 as a dishwasher and worked his way up the ladder to become a cook, assistant manager, and then general manager of the Pappas Barbecue restaurant on Houston’s Southwest side.

“It’s a great company because they teach you how to work,” he said.  After leaving Pappas, Chavez spent more than 10 years planning for the day he could fulfill his dream of owning a restaurant. That dream finally came to fruition in June of 2013 when he opened Chavez Mexican Restaurant at 2557 Gessner in Spring Branch.

The family-run restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for lunch and dinner, and has garnered excellent reviews on internet sites like Yelp, where diners have posted critiques raving about the chicken poblano, fajitas and desserts. Chavez said the restaurant’s fish dishes and carnitas fritas are also very popular.

He runs the restaurant with the aid of his wife, sister, nephew and his three daughters. On June 24, the family celebrated one year in business by hiring a mariachi band to help entertain the guests. More than 500 people showed up and it was the best night of business they’ve had so far, he added.

“It was a great night and everybody had a good time,” he said.

Finally having a business of his own is very rewarding, he added.

“I work hard––15 to 20 hours a day, seven days a week,” Chavez said. “But I feel really good because it’s my business.”

  1. Shirley Gonzales July 29, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    This is a “don’t miss” experience. The food, service and atmosphere is awesome.

    • Gretchen Larson July 30, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks, we agree, I love the food too!

    • Salvador Chavez August 1, 2014 at 5:12 am

      Thank you for choosing Chavez Mexican cafe we couldn’t have done it without the help of spring branch .

  2. Carol Nash July 29, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I became a fan of Chavez about six months ago. It’s a true gift to the neighborhood to have such fresh, quality food served in such a friendly, comfortable atmosphere. YES try the fish – it’s amazingly good – I get it almost every time I go!

  3. Bessie Louise Burnsed July 30, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I did not know this and I went there yesterday. The food was amazing. I was like…wth. this food is great. the sauce, omg delicious and the margaritas… made from scratch. mm mm good. and I’m a food snob. I own Budget Caskets and Monuments and my new location is at Kempwood and Gessner. Just around the corner from this place. Love it. My new favorite place and I will be sending my customers and friends over for some good eats.

  4. Sharon Hernandez August 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Can’t wait to try this restaurant! Always looking for restaurants in the neighborhood, so thanks for spotlighting Mr. Chavez’s restaurant.

  5. J August 24, 2014 at 4:24 am

    I’ve been here twice now and I have a feeling it’s going to be my new go-to Mexican restaurant. The salsas are DELICIOUS and the entrees have been great so far. Mr. Chavez’ experience shows in every well-seasoned bite. I expect to be back weekly for the foreseeable future and look forward to trying more of the menu. Thanks.

  6. Martha Knotts September 21, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Chavez Mexican Restaurant is my new FAVORITE of all time. I was a fan of El Gallo for years – but not since the first time I enjoyed Chicken Acapulco at Chavez! I love the quality of the food, the service and the sincerity and friendliness of Salvatore Chavez, the owner, and his hard working family! Muy Bueno!! I wish him years of success!

  7. Martha Knotts September 21, 2014 at 5:22 am

    P. S. I’m scheduling my birthday luncheon with Salvatore in the next few days!

  8. Tony Sanchez - Sysco Toods August 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Amazing how dreams become true…. Very proud of you and your family for having a unique Mexican restaurant ! Super delicious foods well worth paying for! Thanks for bringing Spring Branch a one of a kind Mexican restaurant ! Well deserved!!

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