FRIENDSWOOD

A new restaurant will spur retail business along FM 528, Friendswood officials said.

Rancho Mexican Restaurant will build a new 5,000-square-foot restaurant at 2131 W. Parkwood Ave. on a 1.2-acre commercial pad site at the Fountains of Friendswood Commercial Park.

Rancho fits the “live here, work here” recipe for desired economic development in Friendswood, City Councilwoman Sally Branson said.

And the company is getting a business incentive grant for $12,000 for creating more jobs and adding to the city’s tax base. The incentive is part of a Chapter 380 agreement, a state program that allows cities to offer loans and grants to promote economic development and to stimulate business and commercial activity.

Friendswood City Council approved the agreement Monday.

Owners Antonio Nunez and Adelina Nunez, who live in Friendswood, have operated the existing Rancho Mexican Restaurant at 146 Parkwood Ave. for more than 13 years.

Construction of the new restaurant is estimated to be about $1.2 million, and new equipment will cost $52,650.

The new restaurant will have a patio open to an existing fountain, Antonio Nunez said.

It will employ 23 people, including a manager, chefs, waiters, hostesses, busboys and dishwashers. The manager would have the highest salary at $52,000 a year, and the busboys and dishwashers would make $18,000 a year.

Antonio Nunez would promote workers from unskilled to skilled positions, he said.

“One of our very own head chefs started as a dishwasher and is now running the kitchen,” Antonio Nunez said.

The restaurant will make about $2 million in its first year of operation, and it will make about $2.6 million a year at full operation, Antonio Nunez said.

New property tax revenue to the city over a 10-year period is expected to be $78,060 in addition to increased sales tax revenue with this business expansion.

The economic development agreement is structured to reimburse the developer $12,000 after the new restaurant is constructed and after Rancho Mexican Restaurant receives its certificate of occupancy, Economic Development Officer Karen Capps said.

Rancho Mexican Restaurant is the only business so far this year to get a business incentive grant, Capps said.

Antonio Nunez first moved to the United States in 1974 from Los Huesos, Mexico.

He learned the restaurant business from ground up, first starting as a dishwater and busboy. He worked his way up for 13 years, becoming a prep cook, a waiter and a chef.

In 1988, he opened his first restaurant. He became a U.S. citizen in 1994.

Antonio Nunez owned three restaurants in the Houston and Katy area. He moved to Friendswood and opened Rancho Mexican Restaurant in 2004.

Valerie Wells: 409-683-5246; valerie.wells@galvnews.com

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