CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Everybody in South Texas seems to love carne guisada.
On our next edition of Favorite Family Foods, we visit a local family-owned restaurant that has gained its popularity because of its burgers.
But a grandmother’s recipe for Mexican-infused beef stew has helped Julio’s Easy Stop remain a cherished part of the Coastal Bend’s restaurant business.
It’s just one of the reasons that Julio’s has them coming back for more.
They put carne guisada on just about everything. Their family has been doing it for 46 years.
We talked with Randy Roldan, who is the son of Julio.
“My dad started it and I took it over about 17 years ago,” Randy said, adding he’s trying his best to carry on the family’s tradition.
It’s the carne guisada that keeps customers coming back.
“We’re really known for our carne guisada.” Randy said. “We put it on a lot of different dishes and we have a dish called the Fry Pie where we put it on top of fries and it's one of our best sellers."
How they make their carne guisada is a family tradition.
“This is where it starts,” Randy says. “When we start with it, we cut it (the meat) ourselves by hand.”
Every morning, the base ingredients are diced by hand, which include onions, bell peppers and of course the meat.
Next, they add in their seasoning – some Accent, a little garlic salt, another type of garlic seasoning and some garlic parsley. It's a family recipe that was handed down by his grandmother.
After two and a half hours of simmering on the stove top, all the ingredients are cooked down and blended.
“That’s about 19 pounds of carne guisada and we cook about three of these dishes a day,” Randy says.
And it’s sometimes four of the big dishes depending on business. Julio's carne guisada has resonated well with the locals. So much so they put it on just about everything. But it was their burgers that set them apart.
“We outgrew our old place,” Randy said. “It was just too much. We were maxed out over there and I had the opportunity to build a new one and I took advantage of it."
Their new location is at 5945 Greenwood, but get there early. They are open from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day but Sunday.
Carrying on what his father started makes Randy proud. It's something he hopes one of his sons will carry on as well one of these days.
“I’ve got two sons – 21-year-old and a 12-year-old,” Randy said. “But my 21-year-old really doesn't like the food business, so I'm working on the 12-year-old and he likes it."
And with so many great dishes, it was hard to narrow down which to taste test.
We chose their burger, which gave them their start. Their never soggy chalupa, which is made with homemade refried beans cooked daily, but the dish I was most excited to try was of course the very famous Fry Pie. It's simply fries piled with Julio's carne guisada and cheese on top. It's a Favorite Family Food that should keep Julio's Easy Stop around for years to come.
And my favorite part is that we got to taste what we helped cook. I didn’t help much, but I got to see how it was made and I had to try the Fry Pie first.
Julio’s Easy Stop fries with carne guisada on top.
It was delicious. I didn’t taste any of the onions and bell peppers and everything just cooked down. I gave it a 10!
We thank Randy for showcasing just a little bit of what they have to offer. Visitors absolutely will not be disappointed.
I really enjoyed tasting their grandmother’s take on carne guisada. It’s a favorite of South Texas and I think people will enjoy it.
And we continue to want to showcase delicious meals across our area that might have been taught to you by a cherished family member.
And you never know. I could be coming to your home next, cooking up one of your “Favorite Family Foods.”
Contact me by social media.
And who knows. You never know when I could be coming to your home to cook up your favorite family food.