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Mother and son find savory success after job loss by opening Tex-Mex BBQ joint in Houston’s East End

Every rain cloud has a silver lining, and that was the case for Alfredo Martinez and his mom Teresa. After both losing their jobs, the mother and son team came together to start a tasty new journey: El Pobre Tex-Mex BBQ.
Every rain cloud has a silver lining, and that was the case for Alfredo Martinez and his mom Teresa. After both losing their jobs, the mother and son team came together to start a tasty new journey: El Pobre Tex-Mex BBQ.

HOUSTON – Every rain cloud has a silver lining, and that was the case for Alfredo Martinez and his mom Teresa. After both losing their jobs, the mother and son team came together to start a tasty new journey: El Pobre Tex-Mex BBQ. Now, the duo can be found cooking delicious Tex-Mex barbecue in Houston’s East End District, serving each plate with southern comfort style and their traditional family flavors.

“We want to feed people as if you were in our home,”said Alfredo. “It’s more of treating you like family and feeding you like family, so we’re going to feed you and make you gain weight.”

El Pobre Tex Mex BBQ is located in Houston’s Second Ward behind Equal Parts Brewing. Alfredo and Teresa serve lunch and dinner Friday through Sunday. The business, which has developed a foodie following among locals, was born out of strife after Alfredo lost his job and was looking for a new path to pursue.

“During 2017, I was between jobs. Out of necessity, I started selling barbecue from the house. I was always the one being called if our friends were having an event or whatever reasons,” said Alfredo. “I had friends asking me to come out to festivals here in the East End. That’s where it kind of grew.”

Around eight months after opening El Pobre Tex-Mex BBQ, the Martinez family was dealt another blow.

“My mom was working. She got laid off too. Seeing her basically be laid off, she was in a way lost because she’s so used to working and staying busy. And so, I was like, ‘Hey! Could you help me,’” said Alfredo.

Since Teresa was already helping Alfredo with the salsas, it was an easy transition to have her on board full-time. Though as with most families, there are times when the duo is at odds.

“Sometimes, we got some different ideas, but we talk and put them all the time together,” said Teresa. “So, whatever you say, tell me.”

For Alfredo, getting to work with his mom is a blessing, as he recalled fondly how hard his mother worked for their family when he was growing up.

“Her coming into the states as an immigrant, becoming a U.S. citizen. Honestly, showing her we can grow something out of nothing. This is the American dream,” said Alfredo.

Teresa Martinez (right) pictured with her son Alfredo Martinez (left) during his childhood. (El Pobre Tex-Mex BBQ)

El Pobre Tex-Mex BBQ is located behind Equal Parts Brewing at 3118 Harrisburg Blvd., Houston, TX 77003. To connect with Alfredo and Teresa, visit their Instagram page here.


About the Author:

Olivia Kolanek is the Features Producer of KPRC 2's Houston Life. She joined the KPRC family in the summer of 2019 after working in non-profit communications for three years. She is passionate about creating content that features good people, good food or a good story. Olivia is a University of Houston alumna, Audible junkie and scuba novice.