A Family Tradition
The Castillo family is one of the oldest restaurant families in Central Texas still in business today serving up South-of-the-Border cuisine for more than 85 years. Family patriarch Antonio P. Castillo, Sr. started the Castillo’s restaurant legacy when he opened The Aztec Cafe in the early 1930s in downtown Waco. The Aztec introduced authentic Tex-Mex cuisine to the area, and quickly became a popular place to dine. From 1935 to 1948, The Aztec Cafe served delicious Tex-Mex, and was popular with many Baylor students due to the dance hall in the back of the restaurant nicknamed “The Patio.”
During this time, Antonio and his wife, Josephine were blessed with seven children (four sons and three daughters), all of whom were involved in the family business at one time or another. The Castillos taught all of their children the art of making pralines (a Mexican candy) the old-fashioned way. Many long-time customers still enjoy the same delicious pralines today made from the Castillo’s traditional recipe.
In 1948, Antonio and his family opened “El Patio” located on 16th Street in Waco. For four years, the family operated the restaurant, when a twist of fate would intervene to introduce “pizza pie” to Waco through the Castillo family’s restaurant! In the late 1940s, an Italian airman serving at Waco’s James Connally Air Force Base taught Antonio and his sons the proper art of making the exotic foreign dish of dough, sauce and cheese baked until bubbly. He also taught them the proper technique for making lasagna, spaghetti and manicotti dishes that were popular with the airmen from the Northeast who populated the Air Force base. Capitalizing on their popular new cuisine offerings of Italian and Tex-Mex, the Castillos renamed the restaurant “The Italian Village” in 1952, a name that remained until its closing in 1986 after more than 35 years of quality service.
One of Antonio and Josephine’s children, Sam Castillo, Sr., left the Italian Village in 1963 and followed in his father’s footsteps to open his own restaurant on the corner of 18th Street and Washington Avenue called “La Fiesta Restaurant & Cantina” still in operation today by his son and daughter, Sam Castillo, Jr. and Vicki Castillo and their mother, Wanda Patlis. La Fiesta is conveniently located in the Central Texas area on Franklin Avenue at Valley Mills Drive in Waco.
The vision of three generations of the Castillo family continues today with La Fiesta’s unwavering commitment to quality Tex-Mex cuisine from decades-old family recipes and exceptional personal service. Only the freshest (never frozen) and finest ingredients are used to prepare all menu items fresh daily. La Fiesta is proud to serve its original family recipes for chile con queso, chili con carne and its world famous hot sauce requested (and shipped) around the world from La Fiesta fans everywhere!
For more than a decade, La Fiesta has been voted Waco’s favorite Tex-Mex restaurant, and the Castillo family takes this award-winning tradition seriously with its 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.
“La Fiesta” literally translates to “the party.” One look around any La Fiesta location on a Friday or Saturday evening will easily explain this translation! Families young and old always enjoy the lively atmosphere and excellent cuisine that La Fiesta provides and it will continue with our legendary frozen margaritas, live music weekly, and Waco’s favorite Tex-Mex since 1963!