Brothers Daniel and Israel Trevino are the owners of Harlingen’s two La Playa Restaurant locations. After their father opened La Playa in Corpus Christi in 2001, the Trevino brothers, then just 24 and 29 respectfully, opened their first Valley restaurant in July of 2006 on Harlingen’s Sunshine Strip. They took their family recipes and began to put their own twist on them, making their restaurant’s approach their own: updated, fresh, and current.
Daniel Trevino says their goal is to excel in the top three priorities for their restaurant business: quality food, excellent customer service, and the right ambience. Trevino knows that these three elements rolled into one is what makes La Playa “La Playa” and what distinguishes it from other local dining venues. The focus of the food is on the flavor and what unique components make up the savory dishes that have their clientele coming back again and again. Both the La Playa fajitas and margaritas have received award accolades, so the food and drink menus have each received a distinguished nod of approval.
“When it comes to our customer service, we want guests to feel at home. We want to know them on a first name basis and welcome them. It is rewarding to us to see guests return again and again on a regular basis,” Trevino affirms.
The La Playa ambience has been developed over time through experience and focuses on an atmosphere of comfort and pleasing aesthetics. They have worked to create an environment that draws guests in and makes them feel relaxed and attended to, and this has enabled a nice mix of both a family dining and business lunch atmosphere.
La Playa goes beyond being owned by a family; the Trevinos want to work with people who add to the family-feel for every employee and staff member. They hire with that notion in mind. As their staff adapts to the restaurant culture they have established, the cohesiveness is evident in the same friendly and familiar faces that continue to serve year after year.
When asked how he, his brother, and their mother, Elizabeth, can all work so closely together, Daniel Trevino coolly states that you cannot lose sight of “family” in a family business. To succeed, you have to stick together through “the thick and the thin,” knowing you work best together when you are established in your mutual goals and your division of duties and overseeing. Any difficulties along the way must be seen as learning experiences and opportunities to unite. They operate with a “do your best” mentality, and thus have grown stronger as brothers and owners in the process.
The Trevinos see La Playa as a factor in the growth of Harlingen, as it is a business willing to bring new and different facets to the market. They are strong supporters of the community and see their position as uniting and not dividing; why have a restaurant-versus-restaurant stance when you are willing to embrace the local market and be supportive of other establishments? Additionally, they see their contributions to the area also in terms of tax revenue that goes to support the local community through jobs and education.
When it comes to what the Trevinos see for the future of their restaurants, they see growth and potential. They want to see the upcoming expansion and opportunities on the horizon for Harlingen as a domino effect that creates more jobs and shines a spotlight on the Valley to welcome more business ventures. And in the desirable dimly-lit ambience that is La Playa, Daniel and Israel Trevino will continue to serve up a little sizzle.
The Trevinos are from Monterrey, Mexico, and grew up in the San Antonio and Houston areas. They currently have another La Playa location in Austin and are working to expand into the McAllen and Dallas areas as well. You are invited to visit their Harlingen locations at 502 S. 77 Sunshine Strip and 1601 W. Harrison. For more information, feel free to contact 956.421.2000.