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After working in the auto industry for 20 years, Manny and Julie Hernandez switched gears and opened a food truck to bring the people of Los Angeles a taste of Texas. Seven years later, the Hernandez family runs a bustling barbecue restaurant in East L.A. known for its melt-in-your-mouth ribs and smoked brisket. We caught up with Julie to get the story behind Meme’s Texas BBQ Smokehouse and to learn about some exciting new products launching this year.
In 2011 my husband Manny and I opened a food truck called the Macho Nacho Truck. We ventured around Los Angeles County and Orange County and a lot of people got to know us for our brisket nachos, pulled pork nachos, and pulled pork quesadilla.
At the same time, we opened up Meme’s and started cooking Texas BBQ. My husband’s family is from Texas, and we wanted to bring a BBQ location to the heart of East L.A. In our neighborhood, the only dining options were Mexican, Mariscos, and Chinese – nothing like Texas BBQ. We had a bit of a rough start but made it on Eater LA’s list of best barbecue ribs our first year. Our biggest goal with opening Meme’s was to be a place where people in the neighborhood could come in like it’s the norm.
My son and I work the Fooda pop-ups while Manny runs the restaurant. My son is my protégé; we’re building him up so when we retire he flows in.
Our best-selling dishes at the restaurant are the ribs and brisket. With Fooda, people really like our brisket sandwich and combination plates. The smokehouse combo comes with a pork spare rib, a piece of chicken, a pulled pork slider, and one side.
My favorite dish is the pulled pork. The whole family loves it with coleslaw on the side.
Manny had been working on his recipes for three years prior to opening the restaurant. The recipes were passed down from his grandfather and his dad. We’ve tweaked them over the years now we have them to perfection.
It’s a combination of food quality and portion size. We serve hearty portions that are worth the money. We’re also big on customer service. We listen to our customers and always try to accommodate them. For example, if someone asks me for a meatless option, I always try to make a vegetarian meal.
I’m seeing more barbecue places opening. I’ve also noticed a lot of fusion restaurants and more vegan restaurants. Where we are in outskirts of L.A. is almost the same. As a cook you have to keep your palate open for different tastes.
A lot of people want to buy our barbecue sauce and rubs, so we’re getting them bottled by end of year. Beginning in May we’ll start doing a seasonal cobbler.
I just want to give a shout out to our customers that voted us best lunch in L.A. We thank them and will continue to serve them.
Fooda consumers voted Meme’s Texas BBQ Smokehouse the best lunch in Los Angeles. The next time you’re on the east side, scoot over to their storefront for a taste of the best ribs west of Texas!