El Kiosko comes to Humble

June 9, 2017

El Kiosko location No. 15 opened its doors to Humble residents on May 31, inviting community members for a taste of classic Mexican recipes.

Gaby Ortiz is a single mother of three who started her journey by first setting up a small table outside her local church selling troles, or raspados, a traditional Mexican shaved ice made with fresh fruit.

Ortiz said growing up in Mexico around her family business made her realize she wanted to carry out her customs and traditions here in Houston.

La Altena was her parents’ version of El Kiosko in Monterrey, Mexico, selling everything from traditional Mexican corn, tortas to tostadas de Monterrey.

Her two sons Andres, 18, and Daniel, 15, remember their time standing outside their church filling up Styrofoam cups to meet the demands of people who had fallen in love with this Mexican tradition, troles.

“We were in a time where we did want a company. We were economic and financially stable, but it was always my mom’s dream, and she had told us since we were little,” Andres said.

Ortiz wanted to ensure her children knew their heritage and where they came from, and having a company that upholds the values and taste of Mexico was most important for her children.

Through interpreter Oscar Garduno, Ortiz expressed the love she has for her company and the journey it has taken her to opening 16 locations with more currently in the works.

“I grew up with the company. I saw it grow,” Daniel said. “I think my mom is a really hard worker, possibly my idol. I want to become someone like her. I’ve never seen anyone like that.”

Each concoction is a secret family recipe handed down through generations, and as the menu points out, Tortas Tinga De La Gaby’s, is the post popular dish Ortiz was known to make since before she opened up her first El Kiosko on Veterans Memorial Drive.

Also on the menu, are Ortiz’s aunts’ famous tostadas, which she named in dedication to her aunt, Tostada De La Chacha.

Franchise owner Bianca Camarena, 23, said she was a longtime fan of El Kiosko and owning one was an exciting step she couldn’t wait to take.

“There wasn’t anything like that in this area, and my own customers are going crazy about it. It’s a pleasure to be here in Humble and serve this community,” Camarena said.

Camarena runs her location alongside her father, Guillermo, who said he has never seen anyone work as hard as Ortiz to ensure each location and franchisee reap the rewards of her products.

“I love my job. I feel blessed with everything, with opening the new place, people coming, the franchises, it’s really good,” Ortiz said in Spanish.

Garduno said while Gaby is kind and produces an incredible relationship with every person she works with, when it comes to her famous sauces, she is very strict to make sure each tastes the same before leaving the distribution center.

Ortiz said her children are the reason for passion and dedication to her company. Their support encourages her to continue to grow her business with opening the first El Kiosko in San Antonio with hopes of spreading her authentic taste of Mexico throughout Texas.