Taqueria Arandas Founder Jose Camarena Dies

Brandon Caldwell | 3/26/2014, 10:07 p.m.
Jose Camarena, the owner of the $40-million-a-year Taquerias Arandas Mexican restaurant chain has died. He was 60.
Jose Camarena, Taqueria Arandas founder

Jose Camarena, the owner of the $40-million-a-year Taquerias Arandas Mexican restaurant chain has died. He was 60.

"He died within the last few days," said the family's spokesman, Cesar Rincon, who declined to release any other details about the death or funeral arrangements. "The family just asks that their privacy be respected at this time."

Camarena came to Houston with only $5,000 and used it to buy a taco truck before pawning all of his furniture to start his first 8-table taqueria, an informal restaurant that serves Mexican fare that is not only cheap but fast and fresh. Each taqueria is outfitted with a giant portrait of Jesus displayed along with the church Camarena attended in his Mexican hometown.

The restaurant has grown to 27 locations including five Arandas Bakeries, two Ostioneria Arandas seafood restaurants and one mobile unit.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years and three daughters.