Gabriela Bucio Honors Hispanic Heritage with Ever-Growing Business Empire
The Mexican-American businesswoman creates space for the community to enjoy authentic food, exciting music and lively nightlife
By Meher Qazilbash
Photos by Carlos Reyes and Gabriela’s Group
Gabriela Bucio is a dynamic force, bringing her inspired vision of Hispanic representation to Austin through her multiple careers and ventures.
The Mexican-American businesswoman, restaurateur and DJ known as DJ Gabby Got It is one half of the fast-growing restaurant management team, Gabriela’s Group.
Co-owned by Gabriela and her brother, Arturo Bucio, Gabriela’s Group has been a major player in Austin’s Latinx scene. Their popular establishments include restaurants Gabriela’s (opened in 2018), Taquero Mucho (opened in 2020) and Seareinas (opened in 2021), coffee shop Revival Coffee (opened in 2020) and nightclubs/music venues Mala Vida (opened in 2019) and Mala Santa (opened in 2021).
The Gabriela’s Group projects are hard to miss, often characterized by their bold, bright aesthetics, lively Latin pop music and lines of people waiting at the door. Each trendy establishment is revolutionary in its own right, honoring the owners’ heritage while adding a modern spin to their community’s presence in Austin.
Despite her fearlessness in both running and representing high energy businesses, Gabriela Bucio presents with a calm and humble disposition — a hard-working person who doesn’t restrict herself when it comes to her big ambitions.
Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Bucio moved to Texas at the age of 5 and grew up between McAllen and Austin. During her high school years in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, she developed her professional skills by assisting her uncle in his career as a music promoter. When she later moved back to Austin, working a day job as a legal assistant, she persisted in her efforts to be a part of a buzzing events scene.
“I would bartend just to make extra money to be able to go to concerts and music shows because I have a passion for music,” says Bucio. “I ended up collecting limited-edition vinyls at these shows and getting a record player. Next thing you know, I got two record players and a mixer, and that’s how I began DJing.”
At this time, Gabriela’s younger brothers Arturo and Salvador were both working in the restaurant industry in Austin, under the direction of other bosses. Eventually, Arturo and Gabriela chatted about their workplace grievances and decided to change their situation to become their own bosses.
“We would come home and complain about how much better we could be doing for ourselves if we just had our own business. We felt our ideas and hard work weren’t being appreciated,” explains Gabriela. “Then, we started to look for a place and opened Gabriela’s. We just wanted it to be a small business where we could all work and that we could live off of, but we didn’t intend to have as many [businesses] as we have now.”
Once the siblings set their dreams in motion with Gabriela’s, everything else followed. The public loved the scene at Gabriela’s, where guests enjoy delicious traditional Mexican meals accompanied by loud Latin music. However, the Bucios felt that things started to become a little too rowdy at the family restaurant and wanted their audiences to have a place where they could go “fully crazy.” This propelled them to open Mala Vida on 6th Street, the first venue on the block to play regional Mexican music. With the popularity of this second pursuit, the empire grew.
Gabriela’s Group started with the simple goal to share the Bucio family’s interests with an audience that was clearly hungry for more. Each of their spaces are event-driven, meant for the Hispanic and Latinx community and enjoyers of Hispanic and Latinx culture to partake in good times and create memories.
“We didn’t have a concept. We were just being ourselves. We were being authentic,” says Bucio. “We were born and raised in Mexico. We’re proud Latinos so we weren’t really thinking about, ‘Oh, we’re building this Latino or this Mexican empire.’ It’s just who we are. I feel that’s why a lot of our younger followers felt connected to us.”
Just a few of the weekly festivities one can expect at their locations include Birria Tuesdays and Mariachi Wednesdays at Gabriela’s, live Banda every Thursday at Seareinas and Tacos and Tequila Tuesdays at Taquero Mucho. Throughout the year, their calendars are studded with plenty of other special occasion fêtes like Dia De Los Muertos celebrations, Mexican Independence Day celebrations, CBD events, Rosalina album parties, Bad Bunny-themed nights and many more. (PSA: delicious Bad Bunny cookies are available at Revival Coffee year-round).
Thanks to the Bucio family empire, there are opportunities to celebrate Hispanic heritage in Austin far beyond Hispanic Heritage Month, which is honored from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Bucio and her family have cultivated an ever-expanding array of Mexican music, food and dance to be enjoyed in bright, fun atmospheres. Next in store for Gabriela’s Group — a brand new Gabriela’s location opening in Houston soon.
Despite having many things in motion, nothing seems to overwhelm Bucio. When asked if starting the process to create these projects ever feels like too much to take on, she says matter-of-factly, “I feel like there’s never a right moment to start a business. I think you should just go ahead and do it and start it with whatever you have — and stay true to yourself.”