In the News

It's a recent weekday afternoon, and Manuel Vega, owner of Budare Arepa Express in Katy, rests on a wooden restaurant chair after attending to a lunchtime rush of a couple dozen people, most of whom are Venezuelan. "About 70 percent of our customers' background is from there," he says.

His three-member staff begins preparing for evening clients. Pounds of shredded beef steams in a cast-iron pot. A beef "Sancocho" stew bubbles in a tall pot. And arepas - corn pancakes popular in Venezuela - sizzle on a large square grill.

Based on receipt records, Vega, 56, sees about 2,800 customers every month at Budare, 402 West Grand Parkway South. "I moved from Venezuela to Katy in 2010 with my wife, and we bought this restaurant in 2011," Vega said. "I knew it would work because I knew there was a lot of Venezuelan people moving here to the Katy area. People call it 'Katy-zuela.' "

The name "Katy-zuela" has been branded for years by those in real estate and business and among local Hispanic families.