… that’s how his compadres at the restaurant quickly describe Estevan. He’s a straightforward man who manages to disarm even the neediest diner or thirsty guest if you know what we mean. With big eyes and a smirk he says, “When you have 2 niños at home, you can handle anything.”
Born and raised in Stafford, TX, this stalwart of Ula’s has been a part of the crew since day-1. Having started in the service industry as a waiter and busser, Estevan has been in the restaurant business for 6 years now. He’s been captain of the cocktails for most of that time because he quickly realized he loved the social arena of the cantina.
It’s all about chatting with guests and he insists that it is easy because he is a people-person. Don’t get ahead of yourself and associate that statement with the movie Office Space. Estevan genuinely likes to hear stories, almost like a psychiatrist. And he likes to help people relax but instead of charging $250/hour to sit on a couch and drone on, he’ll whip an adult beverage for a few bucks (hopefully a tip too) and offer up some friendly banter with some chips, salsa and maybe some queso.
So all that “nice guy” stuff aside, this man is steadfast at his post as well as many other aspects of running the restaurant. He seems to never stop moving like he’s a perpetual motion machine. It’s an exercise in patience just trying to chat with him (not as a customer of course) in the restaurant even during slower times after the lunch rush. You might observe his calm demeanor and think that this guy couldn’t handle two things at once. Well, you’re right. He regularly juggles 4-5 matters at a time (see pics below). And he’s not above the less glamorous part of this line of business either – all those cleaning routines that we know go into keeping a restaurant in tip-top shape.
The long hours and 6-day work weeks can grind sometimes, but he says it’s nice to be a part of and now live in the area within a community that is well established, family-oriented and pretty laid back. Estevan knows regulars by name (let’s not get into a memory contest with Danae at our Wash. Ave. location – although a Bar Battle might be a fun idea), and several customers request his service regularly. The Chiaparita and a custom Jalapeño Margarita seem to be the faves in this part of Houston. As for the guests that meet him for the first time, he’s such a charming barman to talk to that he has been known to get new guests to come back that very same evening after brunch or lunch.
Now into the third year for this first location, he enjoys the family atmosphere of the crew at Ula’s. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but at the end of the day, he loves that everyone can come together to eat, drink and laugh… kind of what Ula’s Mexican restaurant hopes to do for guests each and every day.
Salud a Estevan