www.maroonweekly.com February 3– 16 MAROON WEEKLY | 3
News & Views
Fuego is making its mark early
By Erica Pitman Texas A&M University and the surroundingarea of Bryan/College station is a communitywith core values. As such, one of the newerrestaurants in town, Fuego Tortilla Grill,exemplifies these values to a T.“We are all about the food, quality and value,”Co-Owner and Founder Paul Moler said. The food served in most Mexican restaurantsis usually a Tex-Mex version, nothing like realMexican food. With the creation of Fuego,the idea was to bring out some qualityMexican authenticity.“The restaurant has been something in myhead for about 8 years,” Moler said. “I got theidea in Mexico while playing golf. It was allabout the street food they serve in Mexico,with the grilled meats. The more I startedthinking about it, the more I liked the idea.We have the taco trucks here, but that wasthe closest thing to the food you get whenyou go to Mexico.”Wanting to serve real Mexican food, Moleralong with his business partner DavidLovelace set to work on the Fuego creation,Moler said. Together with the GeneralManager David Girela and Jerry Mansera,a wonderful chef, they made an excellentteam.
“Every aspect of the business, David helpedme with. From the colors to the design, he isvery much involved and tuned in to Fuego,and we are having fun with it,” Moler said.“David Girela is the guy who really held ustogether, and we owe a lot to him, and JerryMansera is the man who perfected our menu.He really brought the quality of our food up,and our food is now on a whole new level.”
The actual restaurant was in the works for just under 18 months, and in practically notime at all, Fuego was opening itsdoors on June 1, Moler said.In the short time that Fuego hasbeen open, business has beenbooming.“It has been incredible. We havegrown in sales every month, butmore than that, we have set astandard. We have the freshestfood we could find and with quality,” Molersaid.With 24 hour quality service, Fuego hasquickly become a popular place for manycollege students, and it has become a partof the Aggie community. Even on Mondaynights, which are typically slower nights forrestaurants, Fuego has good business. Beingopen all the time is also a plus, especially ina college town where many students arelooking for a place to eat late.“You get the same exact product at 3am thatyou would get at 1pm. At Fuego, you willnever get left overs,” Moler said. “We preparefood as we need it. We don’t take the meatoff of the rotisserie chicken until we areready to prepare it, and we crack fresh eggsas needed. We believe in freshness.”On a good Saturday, Fuego can have up to1500 customers, many of them students,and throughout the whole day, haveexcellent fresh food served in a reasonabletime frame.“In this organized chaos, we have servedmore than 1500 people with 80 seats and adrive through, and I still haven’t seen anyonehave to wait more than 15 minutes for theirfood,” Moler said.
Moving to College Station for four monthsin preparation and for the operation of therestaurant, Moler quickly became a part of thecommunity and embraced the Aggie Spirit.
“I bleed Maroon now; it was very easy forme. The community is so embracing,” Molersaid. “We built the restaurant for studentsat A&M. When I moved down here, I reallygot to learn about the community and thespirit. We hire a lot of students, and we work around their schedules. The A&M studentsreally are a cut above. We are thrilled aboutwhere we are, and we could not be in abetter place for the first Fuego restaurant.”In addition to loving Fuego food, collegestudents and the surrounding communityhave embraced the restaurant partly due toits affordability.“What is great about Fuego, you can comein on a budget and walk away full for closeto $5. But we are not the cheapest in townbecause we believe in value. We cater toeveryone; some people can come in thereand spend $15. We really fit everyone’sbudget, no one is left out.”With the possibilities of more locations andfranchising, Fuego’s future looks bright.“Our goal is to continue to get better, to notto be stagnate, Moler said. “We would like tosee many Fuego Resturants, but right now itis one Fuego at a time.”For Fuego Tortilla Grill, the sky really is thelimit.
Photos by Valerie Clark