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IN-DEPTH: Waco family thrives and helps Texans sustain with a new take on a classic staple

Posted at 7:18 AM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 11:13:18-04

WACO, Texas — Throughout history, one staple has seen mankind through good times and bad.

You'll find bread, of one kind or another, has a central role in our history.

During this Hispanic Heritage Month, 25 News shows you the contributions of Texans of Hispanic heritage.

One memorable quote from the novel Don Quixote, "with bread, all sorrows are less."

You might also call it, the motto of Waco's Gonzales family.

Like many, the four Gonzales brothers came to Central Texas to better themselves and their community.

"I first came here to Waco and started working. Taking care of land just to clean out the yard work and stuff like that, but I remember I used to make a couple $100 a week," said Benjamin Gonzales.

Eventually, Benjamin and his brothers began building homes but longed for a taste of home.

That led to Tortilleria Santana which sits atop a north Waco hill at 18th and Lyle where you'll find this family's gift to Texas.

"The flour tortillas are our mom's recipe. They are amazing because they are made with love, I would say," said Benjamin.

The family put many hours into coming up with a recipe for corn tortillas that would have customers coming back for both.

"We've had orders for 350 pounds of tortillas for one single party. It tells you that our product has been consumed by many, many people," said Gonzales.

When orders that big come in, it's time to put the machines to work, carefully supervised by the family.

The Tortilleria has a huge tortilla cooler that takes up a lot of space in the middle of the main room.

The tortillas come out to these cooling racks which zig-zag and then come out at the opposite end where they're packaged and sold.

As the Gonzales family's "bread of life" got more and more popular they added a little something to wrap those delicious tortillas around.

"We keep on adding tamales and burritos, food we can sell by the pound or sell with the tortillas as a complement to them," said Benjamin.

And those choices range from a snack to a feast.

"The barbacoa that we sell, we sell that by the pound. So people will come and buy two pounds of barbacoa and three pounds of corn tortillas and you add salsa with that and you have a whole meal for your family," he added.

That family spirit runs through all the family's projects including their most ambitious one, an indoor soccer field.

"Indoor soccer, I think it'd be great if we can open one of those and get young kids off the phone," said Gonzales.

To work up an appetite for what else?

"Me encanta la cocina y este porque somos una familia muy unida," said Norma Valdez, who, translated, says she loves working in the kitchen with her family because they are very close.

She works for her 4 nephews at Tortilleria Santana doing a very special job.

In the evenings on some nights, you may see her making a favorite Latin treat.

She creates empanadas, little pies with a tasty filling often made with fruit.

A gift of love from the Gonzales family to all of Texas.

"I have a great team. My brothers are awesome, Joshua Emanuel and Ruben. I also have my aunts that work here. We have a great team behind this," said Gonzales.

Why? Because, "with bread, all sorrows are less."