By Michele Bernard, Publisher
Author’s note: Every now and then, I am honored to hear a truly inspiring story. This is one of them. To Gabriel, Chris and crew, I wish you continued success! Happy Anniversary!
Today and everyday, the first words out of The One And Only Burger’s owner/operator Gabriel Pineda are, “Thank you.”
And, today, as he, wife Chris, their family and team celebrate the one year anniversary of one of McKinney’s favorite eateries, this is especially so.
“I would like to personally thank everyone in McKinney, and in the surrounding communities. I am a lucky man,” Gabriel says with a smile, “You have made my dream come true.”
“I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve been blessed,” he says, “I’ve been in the restaurant business pretty much from the day I arrived in this country thirty years ago, and I love it. I started as a dishwasher. It took me about five years to become a general manager after that.”
As one of eight children born in Mexico City to a mother with an entrepreneurial spirit and a father who both practiced and taught law, Gabriel counts himself as a lucky man indeed. He credits his family’s strong ties, work ethic and good example amongst his blessings.
“My mother is my hero,” Gabriel says, “When I think of what she did for us as a family, it is incredible. When I see the perfect picture of somebody who is successful, I see my mom. She had eight kids, started a business and still retired at 50! Can you believe that? And my father, after he finished his career as a lawyer, he continued to work as a professor at the university and didn’t retire until he was 70!”
On his first day as a dishwasher at a large restaurant in southern California, Gabriel knew the restaurant business would be his destiny.
“This is what I was born to do,” he says with a laugh, “The first day at the first restaurant I worked at, we had a Sunday brunch and we were busy. It was busy, but, I was so happy to be there, I was singing as I washed dishes. My GM saw me and came over to make sure I was okay. He wasn’t so sure if I was ok or not because he’d never seen anybody that happy to be doing dishes!”
As the GM walked away, Gabriel noted the gentleman’s suit, tie and carriage, and determined to work hard and learn everything he needed to learn to one-day hold a management position.
“I determined to be the best dishwasher I could be. Then, I determined to be the best busboy, and the best server, and the best bartender. I learned the business. Five years later, I became a General Manager in the same company.”
For the next twenty-five plus years, Gabriel enjoyed a flourishing career winning awards, and opening restaurants throughout the country, eventually finding himself in North Texas. But, as much as he enjoyed the corporate world, the pull to follow a new dream was strong.
“We decided to open this business, because I wanted to do something on my own,” Gabriel says, “I talked to my family, and they all immediately supported me. My wife Christiana encouraged me to pursue my dreams. We opened The One And Only Burger one year ago, and it has been good ever since.”
As the father of three, The One And Only Burger is truly a family affair, with Gabriel and Chris working side by side. Daughter Francis helps with the website and social media, and team members including Manny and Mari, and even guests become family along the way.
“Guests become friends, and friends become family,” says Gabriel of the many people he wants to thank for making his first year in McKinney the blessing it has been for him.
“Hopefully, we can do this for a long, long time. We really like it here,” Gabriel says, “Being a part of this community has really been something. It has been an incredible ride.”
The One And Only Burger restaurant focuses on three simple ideas: Quality Food, Quality People and Quality Service. Serving fresh, never frozen ingredients, the food is made to order, to guests who are treated like family, by people who love what they do, is what makes The One And Only Burger a must visit McKinney, Texas eatery
The One And Only Burger is located at 1330 N. McDonald St. in McKinney, Texas at the corner of N. McDonald and Hwy. 380. Join Gabriel and family today between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Call in orders available 214-973-5360.
Happy Anniversary for your friends at McKinneyFoodie.com!