MAY 14, 2015
Cinco de Mayo, the ever more popular Mexican holiday only a few can say why it is a holiday, will nonetheless be cause for a major celebration May 5 at all nine Berryhill Baja Grill locations throughout the city. It only seems appropriate, being the Houston-born Berryhill Baja Grill was the first restaurant in Texas – possibly the United States – to sell a taco and tamale franchise for store locations in Mexico. From all-day drink specials, live music from late afternoon on and even a troubadour of Mariachis traveling from store to store, the Berryhill Cinco de Mayo celebration brings the holiday to all parts of the area, including The Woodlands, Champions Forest, the Heights and Sugar Land. For the record, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican independence day, but a celebration of May 5, 1862, victory by a loosely organized army of Mexicans over a much larger, seasoned French army in the state of Puebla. The victory delayed the French invasion, and, some historians say, cut short the American Civil War by cutting off a supply route for the Southern states, to whom France was sympathetic. Also for the record, Berryhill Baja Grill has managed to be welcomed where the French got whupped. There are two locations in Mexico, one in Cancun and one in Toluca. Berryhill is named after Walter Berryhill, an Oklahoma native who came to Houston in the late 1920s and began selling tamales made from his own special tamale recipe. Berryhill sold tamales to residents of River Oaks and vicinity from an old cart which he pedaled or pushed along the neighborhood streets from the late 1920s until the mid-1960s. He died in the late 1960s and his recipe was lost for more than 20 years. It, his cart and a tamale making machine he invented were rediscovered in the early 1990s and the first Berryhill restaurant opened in 1993. Now owned by Houstonian Jeff Anon and as famous for its fish taco as for its tamales, the concept has more than a dozen locations, including several franchise operations in Mexico. For more information, call 713-871-8226 or visit www.berryhillbajagrill.com.