Tino’s Tex-Mex Cantina is bringing vibrant flavors to the Ramada Inn off EE Butler Parkway in Gainesville.
The restaurant, which held its soft opening in late October, serves up both Tex-Mex dishes and cuisine from Michoacan, Mexico, where its owner, Agustin “Tino” Sanchez is from.
“The recipes are from me and my family,” Sanchez said. “I was born in Mexico, and I came to the United States when I was 15. I didn’t go to school, but the restaurant business is my college degree.”
Sanchez said he spent his teenage years working as a dishwasher in Dallas, Texas, and slowly climbed the ladder, later opening his first taqueria in Oakwood in 2003.
Sanchez said he ran the taqueria for three years, then became a franchise owner of Pueblos Mexican Cuisine on Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville. After running Pueblos for around 12 years, he decided to sell it in 2019 and open the first Tino’s off Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville. He recently sold the original Tino’s to his cousin, Villanel Garcia, who still owns it today.
Tino’s Tex-Mex Cantina
Where: Inside the Ramada Inn, 400 EE Butler Parkway, Gainesville
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and Sunday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday
More info: 678-696-5097; restaurantji.com/ga/gainesville/tinos-tex-mex-cantina-inside-ramada-/
Sanchez said he decided to open a second Tino’s location inside the Ramada Inn because the opportunity came up. The space can seat up to 80 people with tables distanced from one another by 6 feet. Sanchez said he plans to add more seating with a patio and intends to have a full bar once the restaurant receives its liquor license.
Although it shares the same name as his cousin’s restaurant, he said the menu is different. The prices range from $1 to $18, with a large selection of dinner and lunch options like tacos with handmade corn tortillas, enchiladas, nachos, seafood dishes, fajitas, soup and chef specialties.
Sanchez said his personal favorites embrace authentic flavors from his home, including Guiso a La Mexicana, which offers chopped ribeye steak with sauteed tomatoes, onions and serrano peppers served with rice and beans. Another of Tino’s classic dishes is the Guiso de Puerco made with chopped pork cooked in red or green mole sauce.
Sanchez’s daughter, Jacelin, encourages people to visit Tino’s and try the type of Tex-Mex she grew up enjoying.
“We put our heart and soul into this restaurant,” she said. “We want people to see and feel that.”
When people visit Tino’s, Sanchez said his staff will “treat them like family.”
“We want to make them feel like they were at their own home,” he said.
Tino’s is currently hiring. To apply for a part-time position, visit the restaurant at 400 EE Butler Parkway in Gainesville or call 678-696-5097. Its hours are from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and Sunday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday.