La Finca Chiquita
Allen eatery serves up Tex Mex with love
For Oscar and Ashley Cavazos, owners and operators of La Finca Chiquita at 107 N. Butler St. in Allen, their passion for serving up fresh, made-to-order Tex-Mex is a story about family, tradition and love.
The story begins in Gilmer, Texas, in the backyard of Oscar’s parents’ house almost three decades ago. A small but popular eatery, La Finca Chiquita—or the little farmhouse—served Tex-Mex dishes inspired by family recipes passed down from generations of Oscar’s family originating from northern Mexico.
As children, Oscar and his brother would serve chips and salsa to guests and help out in any way they could. When the place filled, guests would commission their own children to lend a helping hand. It was this kind of family atmosphere that Oscar always envisioned for his own place.
“We want to be the neighborhood restaurant where our servers know you by name and they know what you are going to order,” Cavazos said. “We just want to create an environment where you can just have a good time and not just come eat and get out. We want you to feel like you are part of the family.”
Although the La Finca Chiquita name has been in the Cavazos family for decades—traveling from East Texas to North Texas—the latest inspiration is a nod to its Gilmer roots with a small hometown feel.
Now operating out of the old Allen post office tucked away in historic downtown, La Finca Chiquita only seats 32 guests at a time. There is no room for a walk-in cooler, which forces Cavazos to buy his food daily and make everything fresh.
“The flavors we use I grew up with, so we use a lot of jalapeno, serrano and poblano peppers,” Cavazos said. “The rice is cooked in chicken stock with tomato and we use cast-iron skillets to make our refried beans.”
Cavazos said nothing is made by or in a machine and the kitchen operates with a 3-foot grill, a six-burner stove and a fryer. “That’s it,” he said. “That’s where the magic happens.”
By magic, Cavazos is referring to the customer-favorite chile relleno, an egg-battered stuffed poblano pepper; his personal favorite, the carnita tacos, which consist of pork shoulder braised with Coca-Cola; or Ashley’s favorite, the brisket tacos.
Cavazos said tradition runs deep within their menu, their values and their family.
When Cavazos and his wife, Ashley, first crossed paths, they were children. Ashley spent her summers visiting family in Gilmer, getting chips and salsa from a young Oscar at the local La Finca Chiquita. It was not until she applied for a bartending position at a restaurant with a familiar name that they got to formally introduce themselves.
Now with three children of their own, the Cavazoses carry on the little farmhouse family tradition.