Manuel Atencio, the owner of La Balance Cafe, said he grew up in the restaurant industry and has worked in restaurants his entire career.
“[It’s] what I’ve done all my life,” Atencio said. “We were a family restaurant. That’s what we like. That’s what we know.
La Balance Cafe opened a location in Katy in August 2013, but after Hurricane Harvey hit in August 2017, Atencio moved the establishment to Fulshear in March 2018 as it was the only location that was within its budget.
When Atencio moved to the new location, he received no money from the Small Business Association, so he had to sell his house to open the restaurant.
To reflect modern French cuisine, Atencio retains classic French dishes but presents them using modern plating. For some dishes, he adds Asian and Mexican influences to the seasoning.
“Before, I was strictly French, but with COVID[-19] I had to adapt [to] which people [needed]“said Atencio.
For dinner, filet mignon and sea scallops are popular menu items, Atencio said. For breakfast, the Supreme Burrito is the most popular.
When the cafe first opened in Fulshear, Atencio had employees who wanted to work longer hours, so Atencio suggested serving breakfast burritos through the drive-thru. A few years later, drive-thru was how it stayed open during the pandemic.
“I didn’t have a plan,” Atencio said. “I just did what I thought [was] gonna be good. The good thing is I have a drive-thru. During the pandemic, he was my saviour.
When the winter storm hit Texas in February 2021, no one was available to work at the restaurant, Atencio said.
“People [were] calling for burritos,” Atencio said. “So I thought ‘OK, let’s buy a food truck.’ It was a random idea that I just had to [get back] back on my feet.
When Atencio moved to the new location, it renovated the floors, lights and dining room. During the winter storm there was water damage in the walls and he had to renovate the kitchen.
However, he said he wonders when he will be able to attract more people to the restaurant. Atencio said it wanted to be open all day but did not yet have enough staff to achieve this.
“My business is a roller coaster because one day you get up [high]“said Atencio. “The next thing you [know]it’s downhill, but I like it.
Cafe La Balance
8050 FM 359 S., Fulshear
Breakfast/lunch times: Tue-Sat. 7am-2pm, 11am-2pm; Sun. 8am-12pm, closed on Mondays
Dinner hours: Fri.-Sat. 5pm-10pm
Drive-thru burrito hours: Tuesday-Saturday 7am-2pm, Sun 7am-12pm