Fernando Gallegos is from Monterrey, Mexico, but his family is from Spain, and specifically from Galicia. After graduating from the Art Institute's culinary program, he formed his own restaurant consulting company and met his business partner, Randy Branch, who was running Phil's Place. A couple of months ago, they opened La Tapa Tapa Restaurant & Lounge (3202 Marina Bay Dr., suite J, Kemah, 281-334-7445). "We wanted something different from the heavily populated Mexican or fried seafood restaurants in the area, something that was healthier and had reasonable prices, where people could enjoy lots of small and different dishes," says Gallegos. "We've done no advertising yet, so everyone who has come in has done so because of word of mouth. People are really liking the experience and are telling all their friends."
Branch currently resides in Louisiana, but comes in every Thursday to ensure things are working the way he wants them to. "We're particularly pleased with the fact that we are seeing many families and large parties come in, and many of them are return customers. Ever since we banned smoking, we have attracted many new customers as well."
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A recent Cafe Bites visit found a decor done in typical Spanish colors, red and black, and a remarkably authentic tapas menu larger than any other in Houston, with 30 or so cold tapas and close to 40 hot tapas, plus paella. The extensive menu features quite a few specialized items such as morcilla, or blood sausage, and mollejas, or sweetbreads.