What started out as a basic survival side job to put food on the table for his family quickly turned to making a living and ultimately living the full American dream for Julio. Quickly he saw the potential for a golden business opportunity and sought out his sister, Reyna, to take on this new endeavor head on. The brother-sister tandem have very humble beginnings, immigrating to California from their home-state of Sinaloa in search of a better life with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Through tons of hard work, dedication to their craft, and faith above all else, they have fulfilled their wildest dreams in building an empire.
Having started out of an ice chest in the back of a pickup truck, to a pop-up tent outside a swapmeet on the weekends, Julio alongside Reyna and family experienced a lot of challenges in their ambition for growth yet always kept headstrong and flourished triumphantly in their first establishment inside the swapmeet. With 6 tables, it was a start to their success unlike what they would imagine. It became prosperous and as their clienteles demand only grew, it left Julio and Reyna searching for new ventures outside the swapmeet but still within their clienteles base. With some vision and imagination they were able to lease a property and turned a warehouse into a restaurant that was within walking distance of their first establishment. It was now a restaurant they had what they had always wanted, their dream of becoming restaurateurs had come true.
With time and patience they mastered the administration of running both restaurants and their ambition of expanding would bring Julio to look for opportunities to grow outside of California. His search would bring him to the great state of Texas where he would “test the waters” in a food truck. It wasn’t easy but Julio saw the potential in San Antonio and made the move leaving his sister at the helm in Los Angeles. Knowing she could and would fully run and operate the restaurants, he was able to focus on the expansion and the food truck became a success, but ultimately the goal was a restaurant and so the search was on.
Situated in a small lot on the Southeast side of town, the first El Bucanero in San Antonio was a small 12-table restaurant in which Julio and family would all work in and help make a reputation for itself. It caught the attention of local Chefs and even some journalist and it would help be a catalyst to the great boom El Bucanero received. With the boom came Julio’s vision of making the move entirely from Los Angeles to San Antonio, and as before, Julio sought out Reyna. With the brother and sister duo back together, they were presented with an opportunity unlike before, a large standalone restaurant with its own large designated parking in an area that seemed to be growing exponentially, it was a decision that would shape their future forever.
5 Years at the Southeast side location had brought them to their new home on the North central side of town, it was more than they had ever envisioned and the community rallied around the new location, it was a huge success. Bigger restaurant brought bigger challenges and through trial and error they steadied the ship and within a few short year second location, even bigger in size, became available and their expansion was now off and running unlike anything before.
Currently, El Bucanero has 3 locations in San Antonio and the ambition of continuing to expand is still ever so present and burning. With Julio and Reyna at the top and the new generation working their way up, one can only expect El Bucanero to be around for a very long time and to continue to break those barriers that seemed unbreakable, to cross those borders into the unknown and to continue being successful throughout.
El Bucanero still holds true to its very nature, a family owned family oriented restaurant serving the best seafood at the best price. This simple recipe has been their success since the very beginning and will be for years to come.