Louis and Isabel Velez proudly grin from ear to ear as they walk from one end of Angelina’s Don Louis’ Mexican Restaurant in Hickory Creek to the next. It’s a typical Wednesday night; there’s live music on the rooftop, servers have trays of authentically fresh Mexican food coming out hot from the kitchen, and the place is packed. In between, they stop at a dozen or so tables to chat with customers.
Sure, they do what most owners do and ask how the food tastes and if they need anything. But there’s always more depth to these conversations. They’re laughing and joking with friends. It doesn’t matter which table they visit — they and their staff know them all.
“We have people who come in three or four times a week. You get to know all of them by name. Most have become close friends and family over the years, to the point where we go out to dinner and even travel together,” Isabel said. “What’s amazing to me and Louis is that we have parents who bring their kids when they’re babies and toddlers. And then we get to watch them grow up.
“We enjoy what we do, and we have a passion for this.”
When Lake Cities Living caught up with Louis and Isabel, we couldn’t help but marvel at a few things. For starters, the food at Angelina’s is outstanding. But what really stands out is their colorful and comfortable atmosphere and rich family legacy. While Lake Cities residents have been spoiled by Angelina’s for over 14 years — first in Corinth and now with their 8,400 square-foot restaurant in Hickory Creek since 2020 — the family’s history in Denton County goes back 50 years. Louis’ mother, Angelina Velez, opened their first restaurant in The Colony before expanding to Flower Mound and Lewisville.
She gave the Flower Mound site to her daughter and son-in-law, Tina and Arturo Vargas, who changed the name to Cristina’s. The Lewisville store went to Louis and Isabel, who expanded with another location in the Lake Cities.
Incredibly, each restaurant continues to flourish. The Hickory Creek location is more than double the size of the previous Corinth site. It features two stories of beautiful amenities and plenty of client-pleasing extras like a spacious rooftop bar and dining space with fans and misters to keep everyone comfortable for the summertime and heaters and shades for the winter months.
Many of their employees have been with them for over 30 years. They employ husbands and wives, students at nearby schools, and family members. They are also massively invested in the community, offering discounts to police officers, teachers, and the military. They are also the go-to spot for networking events, mixers, birthday parties, baby showers, wedding rehearsal dinners, city council meetings, and corporate gatherings. They have four private rooms for these events.
“We wouldn’t have the success we’ve had without our employees,” Isabel said. “They live locally, and while Louis and I have our kids and grandkids, we consider everyone here our children and family, too.”
Then there’s Angelina’s amazing food. They have more signature dishes than you can count, but perhaps tops on that list is the famous Louis’ Shrimp, a bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with jalapeños and Monterrey Jack cheese. The Hickory Creek location has been voted Best Margarita in Denton County for the past seven years.
Their menu is full-service on the rooftop, and they even have an expanded menu with spinach quesadillas and more for non-meat eaters. This includes gluten-free and vegan options.
“We make everything fresh, even right down to the chips and salsa,” Isabel said. “We stay consistent with our ingredients, which was hard to do during the pandemic. Prices went up for things like fajita meat, but we tried our best not to alter the menu or charge the customers more money. I’d rather take a loss if it means making sure our customers are happy with what we serve them. We are big on quality, not quantity … and not a lot of restaurants will do that.”
If you want to learn more about Angelina’s in Hickory Creek or any of their other fine locations, check out their website and Facebook and Instagram. When you come in person, ask for Isabel and Louis — they can’t wait to meet and serve you.