It's never too late
In 2018, Mina Ibanez lost everything in her second restaurant in Cedar Park to her business partner. Ten years before that, she lost ownership of her first, in Georgetown, to her ex-husband.
She was 47 and broke, and her friends advised her to retire to spend time with her granddaughters. But Ibanez had over 20 years running restaurants, a passion for cooking and original recipes she had developed herself. She wanted to start over.
On May 8, 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, she opened Los Chilakillers, a new concept Mexican mercado restaurant in North Austin serving chilaquiles.
Mina’s chilaquiles recipe she had perfected living in Austin for 35 years became her trademark and drew customers across Greater Austin who knew authentic Mexican cuisine.
Los Chilakillers, “the house of the killer chilaquiles in Texas”, cooks dishes from a secret family recipe from San Luis Potosí, México, where Mina is from, and is inspired by trips to the local fondas, or street markets that sell food.
For two years, Mina mixed different cheeses, different sauces, different everything, just to make sure she had the right flavor of the Longhorn chilaquiles. Mina wants that when you eat her food, it’s a completely different experience; an explosion of flavors in your mouth.
Los Chilakillers is Mina’s pride and joy, the business is only two years old, and has a two-hour wait on weekends, something that has become the norm. But it was not always like that. Los Chilakillers suffered earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, but word got out, and customers started coming.