Taquero Mucho Owner Launches Newest Project, Gabriela's South
Gabriela Bucio thinks pink
If you live in Austin, you've likely wandered into one of Gabriela Bucio's projects even if you didn't realize it. Bucio is all over Austin: Not only is she a local DJ, but she co-owns three restaurants, a coffee shop, and two nightclubs. And she's not even close to done yet.
During the pandemic, the bartender-turned-business-owner originally from Michoacán, Mexico, kept herself busy by opening a new Gabriela's location in Southpark Meadows alongside her brother/business partner, Arturo Bucio. The sibling power duo also opened Revival Coffee this year, and a second Mexican nightclub, Mala Santa.
"A lot of people were waiting for things to go back to normal," said Bucio, founder of the quickly iconic and very Instagrammable pink taqueria Taquero Mucho, opened in Jan. 2020. "[For] us, it was like, 'How can we adapt?' Because this is the new normal."
The original Downtown Gabriela's, a Michoacán inspired restaurant offering family recipes and known for fresh margaritas and choriqueso, was founded in 2018. "When I opened Gabriela's, it had such a cultural impact on the community that people were dancing and twerking and, like, getting out of hand at Gabriela's," she said. "So I thought, 'How do I provide this for my community, but not here?'"
The recently opened south Gabriela's started strong with a five-hour wait during the soft open on March 22. The new extended menu stars mariscos in the style of Sinaloa, a state in Mexico known for its seafood and sushi. Now available at both Gabriela's locations are dishes like shrimp aguachile, a Sinaloan specialty of lime juice-cured shrimp with cucumber and red onion, and coctel de camarón, a shrimp cocktail. Taquero Mucho, located Downtown on West Ave., serves tacos, sopes and tortas, and appetizers like elote (known as Mexican street corn), and ceviche with raw snapper.
That fresh oceanic flare paired with Mexican flavors runs throughout her business portfolio, and the vibrant pink and teal color scheme with neon signs decorating the walls stays also consistent with Bucio's projects. But don't let the cutesy decor fool you.
"On the outside ... it looks cute, but it's really Mexican as fuck," Bucio said. "It's just like me."
The entire vibe of Bucio's businesses are intended to reflect her bold and vibrant personality, and the new Gabriela's is no exception. Bucio designed the space completely by herself, down to the custom wallpaper and neon signs reading "cruda," which is slang for hangover. Bucio grew up picking tamarinds from a tree in her grandmother's backyard in Michoacán and incorporated that slice of her childhood into the restaurant through her specialty tamarind margarita, Gabby's Margarita.
"Gabriela's is a reflection of [me]," Bucio said. "I like Bad Bunny? You guys will see a Bad Bunny drink. It's just everything that I'm into."
The space features a huge, dog-friendly covered patio with a full-service bar, live music on the weekends and a wood-burning fire pit. Bucio plans to fully open the patio within the next couple weeks, but guests are still welcome to dine outside.
In addition to the stage outside, the interior boasts a DJ booth, and if you come by on a weekend, you might see DJ Gabby Got It, Bucio's alter ego, spinning at the booth. The interior features a large wraparound bar with over 20 tap beers, including several local beers, and plenty of tequila with other liquor available as well. Besides the large patio space at all of her restaurants, Bucio credits her social media presence for keeping them going during the pandemic.
"One of the things that helped me a lot was our social media because I was able to communicate with our followers in real time."
If you visit one of Bucio's Mexican night clubs, Bucio might just pull you off the dance floor to record a video for Gabriela's Instagram account. Mala Vida, opened in 2019 on East Sixth near Waller Creek, features entirely "música regional Mexicana" and the new spot, Mala Santa, is a Latin discoteca in Southeast Austin near the airport. Bucio uses Instagram to help her give customers exactly what they want, she said.
"I used to come party with my friends [in South Austin] after working 15-hour shifts. You know, like tired and in my server shoes, my outfit, and I would come and party here. So I'm really excited to be back to South Austin."
A big factor in Gabriela Bucio's success? According to her, it's unfaltering support from the men in her life. Both Arturo and Gabriela's fiancé "put [her] on a pedestal" and say she's "the coolest thing on earth," she beamed. "When I got [Taquero Mucho], I turned around and told my business partner I'm gonna make this space pink," Bucio explained. "They didn't second guess it. They totally believed in me ... and it blew up."
Being a woman-owned business is also extremely important to Bucio, who emphasizes that she finds it natural to work with other women and fellow people of color and makes an effort to hire a diverse team. "Once I opened, I noticed what an impact I was making in my community because I am a woman of color," she said.
Gabriela Bucio doesn't plan on slowing down anytime soon, and the team announced big plans for two new projects: Taquero Mucho 2 in the Domain, and Seareinas, a Mexican seafood restaurant. That delectable new seafood menu at Gabriela's? It's a sneak peek of what's to come at Seareinas.
"It's corny, but ... I love what I do," Bucio said. "A lot of my friends told me, 'Oh, you should take a break.' But I like what I'm doing ... It's not work."
Arturo and Gabriela Bucio's "Mexillennial AF" Businesses
Gabriela's Downtown: 900 E. Seventh; 512/840-1569; www.gabrielasdowntown.com.
Gabriela's South: 9600 S. I-35 Frontage Rd.; 512/840-1569; www.gabrielasdowntown.com.
Taquero Mucho: 508 West Ave.; www.taqueromuchoaustin.com.
Mala Vida: 708 E. Sixth; www.instagram.com/malavidaaustin.
Mala Santa: 8509 Burleson Rd.; www.facebook.com/MALASANTAAUSTIN.
Revival Texas Coffee: 1405 E. Seventh St.; www.revivaltexas.com.
Taquero Mucho 2: a second location with a fruteria and juice bar. 11101 Burnet Rd. #150 (across from The Domain).
Seareinas: a new "mariscos y sushi" concept slated for April or May opening. 6607 N. I-35; www.seareinasaustin.com.
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