WACO, Texas – A four-generation family-owned restaurant has been bringing south of the border cuisine to Central Texas for decades.
La Fiesta is Waco’s original Tex-Mex restaurant, serving a fusion of Mexican and American dishes.
“I never met him. He died before I was born. And so, I really think it’s neat that I stand here and do his job all these years later,” says La Fiesta owner Lynsey Castillo.
Castillo’s great-great grandfather Antonio P. Castillo, Sr. came to Waco from Puebla, Mexico nearly 100 years ago selling hot peanuts on Heritage Square. He began a legacy which would go on for generations.
“I kind of get to keep alive what his dream was for his kids, and that he still provides for my children,” Castillo says.
After getting his start in the restaurant business with The Aztec Cafe with just $700 in his pocket, Antonio’s son Sam Castillo, Sr. started La Fiesta in 1963.
“This is what we do. It’s what we love. And so, we feel honored to still be here 56 years later and get to offer it to our community. And we love to give back when we can, because we think it’s important. Waco is important. We love the growth. And so, we are planted at 56 this past July, and I look forward to the next 44,” Castillo says.
The restaurant is staying true to its original Tex-Mex flavors.
“So a lot of them are the same recipes. They’ve really never changed. So chile con queso, chile con carne, rice our refried, just kind of keeps going. We always laugh and say it’s just the same it’s always been,” says Castillo.
La Fiesta literally means the “the party,” and the atmosphere takes everyone there.
“We’ve kind of tried to keep the party alive and keep the brightness alive and the fun, and like, to serve our families and our guests,” says Castillo.
La Fiesta is keeping a family tradition alive and strong in a city like Waco.
“We just have a community that gives back and gives back big, and I just don’t know that there’s a lot of cities that have the size that we have that have the heart that we have, and so, it’s an honor to be here and live here.
“It’s really almost 100 years that we’ve been here, so I think that’s why I get emotional about it. It’s important. It’s deep. It’s rooted. And with all the growth in Waco, it’s just exciting to see and know that our future after 56 years is still bright,” says Castillo.
This family’s history quickly becomes another family’s history.
“People who, 20 years ago, I knew who they were and they were an acquaintance are now like family, and I’ve watched their kids from the high chair to grown, and so it’s really neat,” says Castillo.