Kathie loves Chachi: Couple builds happy days at Kingwood restaurantBookmark this
Chachi’s Mexican Restaurant is a cornerstone of Kingwood Town Center, a hotspot of activity that’s always busy in when friends and family gather for lunch, after work and school for a great meal in a comfortable atmosphere.
Restaurant co-owners Kathie and Luis Jaimes first met 26 years ago working at the former Ninfa’s Restaurant in Kingwood.
“I was a waiter and he was a busboy,” Kathie said. “When I met him, I told him he looked like Chachi from Happy Days and he had no idea was I was talking about. One day, I turned it on in the bar and showed him. I started calling him Chachi and it kind of picked up from there.”
Luis worked for decades in various restaurants over the course of his career, starting as a busboy and dishwasher, to cook, waiter, bartender, and eventually, a manager, sometimes working two jobs at a time. After years of working together, he and Kathie fell in love and got married in 2001. They took their bond even further and decided to open their own business, opening the aptly named Chachi’s Mexican Restaurant in 2008.
“He always worked incredibly hard, he always gave everything he did 110 percent no matter what he was doing,” Kathie said. “It just seemed like the next step for us, instead of working so hard for someone else, it would be much better for him to be working hard for himself.”
The restaurant is known for its excellent food and catering, serving traditional Tex-Mex such as enchiladas, fajitas, and carnitas, but also for more adventurous fare like quail, honey glazed pork belly, cilantro chicken rice soup, and chicken tortilla soup, a customer favorite.
“One of our customers was getting ready for a date that he was going to cook dinner for someone, and soup was their favorite food,” Kathie recalls. “He actually had got soup from us. For years, she thought she had made the soup, then she found out that he had got the soup from us. They still come in and get the soup.”
From the beginning, the Jaimes’ wanted to make Chachi’s a family-friendly space, their very own, more upscale version of Al’s Diner where everyone would feel welcome, designing the restaurant like a home rather than a dining area. They often host family gatherings, graduation celebrations, and birthday parties, including those of their own children, Nicole, 16, and Tyler, 8, who celebrate each year at the place they grew up in. Several employees have been with the restaurant from the beginning, which adds a rare familiarity and comfort for return guests.
“My favorite part of working at Chachi’s is that it has given me the opportunity to get to know so many people in the community,” Luis said. “I also enjoy seeing so many people out celebrating special days in their lives. It’s awesome to see customers of mine from my early days at Ninfa’s in Kingwood now bring their children and grandchildren in to dine at Chachi’s.”
Kathie and Luis make it a point to give back to the community that helped make Chachi’s into an institution through sponsorship of school sports teams, staff appreciation days, and local non-profits. It’s that devotion to the community, sharing the fruits of their own happy days, that has built Chachi’s into one of the most popular restaurants in Kingwood.
“My favorite part of working at Chachi’s is that it has given me the opportunity to get to know so many people in the community,” Luis said. “I want all of my customers to feel like they are really welcome here. I want them to have great food, great service and want to come back soon.”