By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
It may be in a new location, but long-time Commerce residents should have a sense of deja vu when they walk into El Charro: The Next Generation, located on Lee Street. That’s because Albino “Bino” Reyes operated an El Charro in Commerce for 26 years, a restaurant that closed about 15 years ago.
His daughter, Selena Reyes Thompson, along with her husband Daniel, recently moved from Maryland to open up the new location, just a few blocks away from the original El Charro’s location on Live Oak and roughly 15 miles away from Greenville, where El Charro began.
They still use the same recipes, Selena said, but the restaurant, located in the old College Corner Cafe building, has some unique artistic touches.
“That’s all Daniel,” Selena said of her husband, who used to work as an art teacher. “He’s extremely creative and very artistic.”
One of the most interesting aspects of the restaurant’s decor is a section that runs the length of one side wall set aside for patrons to sign. The wall also features brightly colored signs that contain food related phrases and a space for the guest of the week.
The restaurant opened on Nov. 13, three and a half months after the Thompsons made the decision to move to Texas. The transition was made possible in large part by Selena’s family, many of whom work in the restaurant. Chris and Lance Reyes were particularly helpful, Selena said.
The community response has been very strong, according to Selena.
“The support is tremendous,” she said. “And it’s been a wide radius of support that goes beyond the Commerce border.”
The Thompsons are no strangers to Commerce. They met while attending Texas A&M University-Commerce, then East Texas State University. Their goal is to reach out to both community members and A&M-Commerce students.
“We’re starting to do quite a bit of catering with the college,” Daniel said. “In three weeks, we’ve already done two and we have five orders.”
Selena emphasized that El Charro is Tex-Mex, a rarity as more restaurants are emphasizing authentic Mexican food.
The family atmosphere is apparent at El Charro, as both owners frequently interact with their guests.
“We want this to be an experience,” Daniel said. “We want people to feel like we’re inviting them into our home.”
Bino, who passed away recently, and the original El Charro’s restaurant still has a huge impact on Commerce.
“He had a tremendous amount of friends,” Selena said. “Everyday I meet people who were great friends with him. He left his legacy.”
Currently the facility is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. To keep up with the restaurant, find them on Facebook or visit www.elcharrox.com.