Moran’s Pizzeria (with locations in Donna, TX & Mercedes, TX) were not always the community staples the Rio Grande Valley knows them to be today. Their story has far more humble beginnings. It starts in Mexico where Mr. & Mrs. Moran had a taco cart in front of their home where they used to sell tacos to their neighbors and other locals. It was there that Mrs. Moran started fine tuning the spice recipe for her asada and al pastor.
When they decided to come to the United States, their sons got jobs at local pizzerias where they began to try their hand at pizza making. What they learned very quickly was that their ambitions far exceeded what a job could offer them. So the brothers, David & Samuel, decided to leave their jobs and try their hands at doing what their parents did. They began to make pizzas out of their home, offering a small menu and charging only $5 for a pepperoni, cheese, or, get this, a TACO PIZZA!
David & Samuel worked with their parents to merge their love for pizza making and their parents’ background in street tacos, and it birthed the Moran’s Pizzeria;s anchor pie, the now Valley-famous taco pizza. The taco pizza is exactly as it sounds, topped with cheese, asada, grilled onions and garnished with chopped cilantro, freshly sliced avocado, limes, and a really nice fresh salsa de aguacate. On any given Sunday, the taco pizza makes up 80% of their pie orders!
Don’t get me wrong; the taco pizza is not the only thing keeping locals coming in for more. They also have some other phenomenal pies that keep not just locals coming in but people from across the United States. One example is the Luz Special, which features freshly deep-fried boneless buffalo wings with french fries and a hefty serving of ranch drizzled on the pizza.
Alongside those two heavy hitters, they have the pizza that most people know them for: the Hot Cheetos pizza. This pizza went viral online and had them with a line out the door for nearly two weeks! The Morans cook powdered Hot Cheetos into their pizza sauce for this pie, then top it off with Hot Cheetos, handfuls of Hot Cheetos dust, a heavy serving of fresh nacho cheese to coat the pie, and sliced pickled jalapenos.
Both Mr. & Mrs. Moran still work at both locations, and four of their six children work at their pizzerias with their sons managing the Donna location and their daughters the Mercedes location. At the Mercedes location, they prepare agua frescas every morning. After the lunch rush, they are basically all gone because they are not only extremely tasty, they are soooooo refreshing in the South Texas heat.Though Moran’s Pizzeria started as a little taco cart in Mexico, it has turned into a South Texas staple, showing not only locals but people across the United States and just across en el otro lado that the Valley can be a place where you can have your slice of the American dream.
Want to learn more about Yelp’s Chief Pizza Officer? Read out Q&A here.