Fresh ingredients and freshly made tacos are the difference at Con Madre. (photo courtesy of Con Madre). Freddie Bustinza, right, moved to Dallas from Austin to get ready to open his family’s first restaurant here. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Freddie Bustinza is bringing his family’s Austin restaurant chain to Dallas

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer

Freddie Bustinza has moved to Dallas from Austin to oversee the opening of two new family-owned restaurants called Con Madre. The first Dallas Con Madre should be open in December and will be located on Wycliff Avenue in the shopping center with Pet Supplies Plus and Sal’s Pizzeria. The second is scheduled to open in a new center on the corner of Marsh and Walnut Hill sometime next spring or summer.

Freddie Bustinza

Con Madre means “With Mother,” and that’s how Bustinza runs his business — using Mom’s recipes, Mom’s business sense and Mom’s charm. So when the first restaurant opens in Dallas, Bustinza’s mother will be moving from Austin to Dallas to help make sure everything is just right.

She’s already been to Dallas and has been out dancing at the bars on Cedar Springs Road, Bustinza said. And she approves of her gay son’s choice of first location for expansion of her business.

The family opened their first restaurant on Oltdorf Street off Congress Avenue in Austin in 2007. A food truck that’s permanently parked in front of a gas station soon followed. More recently, they opened a second full service restaurant on Brodie Lane in southwest Austin near the Lady Bird Johnson Wild Flower Center.

Bustinza said his brother is general manager of the Austin restaurants and will continue to operate them once Mom moves to Dallas. A third Austin restaurant may open in three years.

But for now, Bustinza is busy working with restaurant designer Bruce Russo to prepare for construction on the Wycliff Avenue location. Russo has been designing restaurants for more than 35 years, and his work includes Toulouse off the Katy Trail, Dee Lincoln Prime in Frisco, Beauty Bar and Nosh. He also designed The Shops of Highland Park on Oak Lawn Avenue.

Bustinza said he’s working with Russo so that every detail in the new restaurant will be just right.
Con Madre specializes in tacos from his mother’s home town of Matamoros, the city across the river

from Brownsville.
“We use my mother’s and grandmother’s recipes,” Bustinza said. “The tacos are incredible.”

What makes them special is the taste, the aesthetics and the homemade feel.

He described some of his mom’s special recipes: Pastor tacos, he said, are something “my mom makes slightly different.” Shredded meat normally topped with a pineapple. But instead Mom makes them with meat marinated in pineapple.

Con Madre is also known for seasonal recipes.

“November and December are tamales,” he said. “December and January? Pozoles,” a traditional Mexican soup. Then spring is known for chicken mole made with his mom’s secret ingredient.

Bustinza said they like to give their customers a bite and then change the menu to add something seasonal and new.

The other difference between Con Madre and many other taco restaurants, he said, is “my ingredients — freshly cut meats, vegetables, tacos freshly made every day.” Other places get tacos delivered each morning. Con Madre gets the ingredients for tacos delivered, and then they make their own.

Marinating the meat to perfection also makes a huge difference, he added.

Bustinza is excited to have found such a good Oak Lawn location for his first Dallas restaurant.

“I am focused on community,” he said. “I’m always out and about.” He plans to be an active part of the community in Dallas, and he hopes the community will embrace him and his mom and their new business.