For Andy Garcia, Hispanic heritage meant food and family

National company began in his garage making barbacoa

SAN ANTONIO – What says Hispanic heritage better than food and family?

The founder of Andy Garcia Foods produced pre-packaged Mexican staples to make them quick and easy for families to enjoy, his son said.

Dr. Louis Garcia, son of Andy Garcia, said his father “knew the value of family time, especially because he worked so hard for so long.”

Dr. Garcia said his father was once asked what his motivation was after building a national company that began with him making barbacoa in his garage more than 60 years ago.

His father replied, “I had six hungry mouths at home to feed.”

Dr. Garcia said his father had been caught twice by city inspectors until, finally, the operation was being fully inspected.

His father and Dilia, his mother, bought equipment from another barbacoa business in 1956 for $15.

“They struggled over that, whether they should spend that type of money,” Dr. Garcia said.

He said his father may have been the head of Andy Garcia Foods, yet, “My mother was definitely the neck that turned that head.”

Dr. Garcia said his father’s business sense and his mother’s intuition are why Andy Garcia Foods can be found at major retailers nationwide.

Bonnie Garcia Gottwald, Andy Garcia’s daughter, said after starting at 2 a.m., her father “worked all night long to produce the barbacoa that had to be ready in the morning to take to the restaurants and to deliver.”

And, whenever employees didn’t show up, the siblings said their father would put them to work.

Dr. Garcia said his father, who had worked at a meat packing plant, developed the recipes -- the initial products being barbacoa, chorizo and tamales.

The company is now under new ownership but remains at its longtime location in the 2800 block of Jackson-Keller.

They said their father, who passed away late last month, will be remembered for his devotion to his family and faith.

“He worked hard, and he did it all for the right reason,” his son said. “It was to serve his family. Nothing about personal ambition.”

His daughter said, “He was a very forgiving man. He saw everybody as a sweet soul, and he was a sweet soul, too.”

Click here for more Hispanic Heritage stories from KSAT

About the Authors

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.

Recommended Videos