One of the city’s most popular food trucks now brings a new dining concept to downtown Amarillo. Mi Gente Latin Cravings has been a fixture at local events since Chef Paul Leal moved here from the Metroplex in 2020. This spring, he and his wife, Amber, have given the food truck a more permanent home at the corner of Eighth and Buchanan, right across from Hodgetown.
The Leals converted a former auto shop into indoor dining, with the Mi Gente trailer parked outside and operating as the kitchen. Lunch and dinner customers will order inside, Amber says, and servers will bring the food from the trailer into the dining area.
Paul was working as a chef at the swanky Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Dallas when the pandemic hit. With his job furloughed, the couple returned to Amarillo to be closer to Amber’s family. The local scene reminded them of Fort Worth a few years ago, with art, food and culture beginning to collide in interesting ways. Understanding that Amarillo was on the cusp of something great, they also saw an opening for Paul’s skills. That led to the food truck.
Mi Gente is known for its fusion of Latin flavors. Paul has worked alongside and learned from fellow chefs who hail from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Honduras and other cultures. That eclectic mindset flavors his menu. “Who doesn’t like Latin food, right?” he says. “Most of the places I worked in Dallas have been high-end, fancy places. I like to take what I like—as far as comfort and honest food—and add a little bit of fancy to it.”
Highlights include the Steak Fajita Eggroll, Chimi Steak Fries and incredibly flavorful Cuban Sanguish, a hot-pressed Cubano alternative, which combines roasted pork shoulder with ham and swiss cheese.
The name Mi Gente (“my people”) comes from Paul’s grandfather, who used to refer to his employees that way. “It’s not a title here. Everybody’s my people. Everybody’s mi gente. I honor him in bringing that phrase here,” he says.
800 S. Buchanan St.