SAN ANTONIO-- Morenita Barbacoa is the fruit of Juana Salazar's labor. She tilled the soil of the restaurant industry until she could reap the harvest.
The 54-year-old opened her first restaurant on Culebra Road in 2008. Salazar downsized the eatery when her daughters went off to college. They were the help.
"I saw the sacrifice she was making for her children," Alejandro Rosales said. " It was probably really hard for her."
Rosales is her 14-year-old son who works alongside his mother on the weekend. She has three daughters, two sons, and a husband.
In 2011, Salazar moved Morenita Barbacoa to 4302 S. Flores. She decided to open her business only on the weekend. During the week, she worked for another restaurant as a cook.
Salazar said it was to help her girls through school and continue to put food on the table. Sleep, you ask? The wife, mother and grandmother said she'd carve out six hours to get some rest. She kept up the dual restaurant responsibilities until June 2016. Honestly, knee surgery made the decision for her.
"It's nice to able to help her for everything she has done," Rosales said.
Salazar said another reason she's only open two days a week is her restaurant's specialty: Barbacoa.
"Barbacoa is more like a weekend food," Rosales said.
Born in San Luis Potosi, Salazar learned how to cook from her mother. Across the years, she picked up a few culinary tricks from working at restaurants.
The menu at Morenita Barbacoa is simple. It includes various types of tamales, Menudo, chicharrones and freshly made pico de Gallo with avocado.
Salazar's barbacoa became the Texas fare of actress Millie Bobby Brown of Netflix Stranger Things during the Alamo City Comic Con last November.
Neighborhood Eats refused to be left out of the loop. Salazar obliged with a huge sampler.
Her homemade menudo was delicious!
She prepared two kinds of tamales: Pork as well as cheese and green sauce. Que Rico!
The carne guisada tacos were great!
Salazar finished Neighborhood Eats off with two pounds of lean (non-greasy) barbacoa. Que Rico!
For six years, sacrifice and good cooking have made the small south San Antonio restaurant a success. Her husband had it right when he came up with the name for the business "Mexican woman's barbacoa (Morenita Barbacoa)."
This hardworking business owner has the right hand for a neighborhood place where grabbing a plate of food to-go is a pleasure.
That's this week's edition of Neighborhood Eats. If you have a recommendation for Marvin send him an email (Mhurst@kens5.com), tweet (@Mhurstkens5) or post it on the KENS 5 Facebook page. #KENS5EATS.
© 2017 KENS-TV