Forget the age-old real estate adage, “location, location, location.” RC’s Tex-Mex is a case of “if you build it, they will come.”
Given the traditionally high rate of restaurant failures and its obscure location, it’s surprising that RC’s Tex-Mex is around to celebrate its first year anniversary. Yet it is, which is no surprise to owner Ronnie Curnan.
“The location motivated me,” Curnan said.
The strip shopping center where the restaurant is located is off the beaten path, well north of Sugar Land’s premier locations along the Southwest Freeway and U.S. Highway 90-A. The shopping center is located at the intersection of Eldridge Road and Jess Pirtle Boulevard. Once there, one must pass a McDonald’s, a Subway, Panda Garden, and even Southern Maid Donuts just to find RC’s Tex-Mex squirreled away in a corner.
If that were not bad enough, Sugar Land’s sign ordinance limits what Curnan can do to improve his curb appeal. Yet through it all, his restaurant is not only surviving a year later, it’s steadily growing. His secret is simple.
“We have high quality food at a reasonable price,” he said.
Curnan is a 23-year veteran of the Pappasito restaurant chain – 21 years as a manager. He said he learned a lot from his time there, including the importance of good food, generous portions and how to properly manage a restaurant. Yet he knew it would take more than that to be successful.
In his time with Pappasitos, Curnan lived in Sugar Land but worked at restaurants all over the Houston area.
“Living here and working there got to be some wear and tear on me,” he said.
That, and with a wife and three children he rarely got to see, Curnan was inspired to do something much closer to home.
“I live in the neighborhood here, so it’s not like I’m an outsider moving in,” he said.
Aside from his experience with Tex-Mex food, Curnan said he wanted to open that type of restaurant to add variety to his neighborhood.
“There’s not a lot of variety here,” he said. “We’ve got some great fast-food and we’ve got great Asian food.”
When RC’s first opened, it only served breakfast and lunch. Curnan said he wanted to be home in the evenings to spend time with his family. His wife of 21 years, Amanda, works outside the home. They have three teenagers who will all be a Kempner High School next fall, Alayna, 17; Reid, 15; and Jace, 14.
As time passed, the popularity of the restaurant grew. In January Curnan expanded into the dinner hours and is now open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday and Monday for special events only.
“I believe in having two days off,” he said.
He said his best-selling menu items are the breakfast tacos and burritos, street tacos, and his tasty variety of fajitas, including beef, chicken, and honey-glazed shrimp.
“I want you to crave my food,” he said.
Apparently his plan is working, because he has overcome huge odds to succeed in and industry and location where Las Vegas odds-makers would never have given him a chance in a million.
“I’m just looking to have a nice, good restaurant that’s reputable and that people want to eat at,” he said.