ON THE MENU — La Fiesta flourishes with family flavors and great customers

Published 11:56 pm Friday, December 16, 2022

PORT NECHES — For many years, Maria Dumesnil and her sister Ana Hernandez have served the Port Neches-Groves area with top-notch Tex-Mex dishes.

Dumesnil runs Maria’s Diner in Groves, while Hernandez operates La Fiesta off Nederland Avenue in Port Neches.

“We went into the restaurant business in 2007,” Dumesnil said. “Originally, La Fiesta was in the Jefferson City Shopping Center. It didn’t work out for us. We stayed there three years in search of a better location.”

Ana Hernandez, left, and Maria Dumesnil are sisters, who operate two Tex-Mex spots in Port Neches and Groves. (Chris Moore/The News)

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The two sisters operated the Port Neches location for several years before Dumesnil opened Maria’s Diner in Groves to be a little closer to home. She still helps out at La Fiesta when needed.

La Fiesta offers an array of tasty Tex-Mex dishes and breakfast favorites.

The restaurant’s full menu is available at all times of the day. Those looking for a breakfast spot should try the location’s French Fiesta, which serves French toast with an assortment of other breakfast items.

Owning and operating an eating establishment through the pandemic has not been easy. Restaurants around the world have succumbed to the strains of the economic drop off associated with the pandemic, but La Fiesta has held, thanks largely to a family bond.

“With the COVID situation, having family work together has been good,” Dumesnil said. “You know you have someone you can rely on. You always have hands. My family is always involved in it. We have survived with just us and a few employees. We have been blessed to still be here.”

While the menu is the same as Maria’s Diner, each sister cooks at their respective establishment, giving the food its own signature touch.

“Somehow, it might have a different taste, but it is still in the same line,” Dumesnil said.

The co-owner said the regulars provide an extended-family feel to the establishment.

“We still have very loyal customers who have come for a long time,” Dumesnil said. “We see them and start working on their order, because we know what they want. It helps a lot. We try to get familiarized with them. We want to make them feel like home. We want to know everyone here.”