Ricardo Molina, the third of three generations to own and operate Molina’s Cantina, will be inducted into the Texas Restaurant Association’s Hall of Honor on June 23 at the association’s annual President’s Gala at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, TX. Molina’s father, Raul Molina, Jr. received the same honor in 2009. Voted in by a committee of peers within the Texas restaurant industry, the Hall of Honor is the highest recognition members of the TRA can achieve.
“Rick Molina has carried on an unbelievable legacy with the family business at Molina’s,” says Mike Shine, president of the Greater Houston Restaurant Association and current TRA board member. “There are very few restaurateurs in the nation who have accomplished what this man has accomplished, and continues to accomplish, on behalf of the restaurant industry. It is a very, very notable thing to be nominated and elected into the Hall of Honor and I can’t think of anyone in this city who is more deserving than Rick Molina.”
Molina’s Cantina is Houston’s oldest Tex-Mex restaurant, family owned and operated since 1941 and thriving after 72 years in one of the country’s most competitive dining cities. Ricardo Molina was just nine years old when he began washing dishes and bussing tables at his father’s restaurant, Molina’s Mexico City, located at 7933 Westheimer. At age 11 he was working at Molina’s every Friday and Saturday night. In 1982, Molina began working full time for the family restaurants and today serves as president, overseeing menu development, company expansion, purchasing and marketing for three locations in the Houston area.
Molina (MolinasCantina.com | MolinasRestaurants.com) has served two terms as Greater Houston Restaurant Association President (1993 and 2008/2009), as well as a board member for the Texas Restaurant Association, life member of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and Judging committee member. He has also served as committee member for the City of Houston Health Department Review Committee, Heart Association Advisory Committee, and more. He has been active in TRA at the state and local level for 20 years.
As Hall of Honor inductee, Molina will be acknowledged for his commitment to the foodservice industry, the association and the Houston community, as well as for his outstanding leadership, exemplary business ethics and ability to promote a positive image of the foodservice industry in Texas.
“This is truly an honor for which I am humbled,” says Molina. “I was born into the industry but am grateful for it.” More than anything, Molina says he treasures the relationships he has with his patrons and staff. “Getting to know our guests is the best part of the business. Houston is a big city with many choices. Each day we have to give them a reason to return.”