Rising Star Restaurateur Briana Valdez of HomeState - Biography

Los Angeles, CA

May 2021

Born in Houston and having moved around to Freeport, Victoria, Arlington, San Antonio, Clute, and Lake Jackson, Briana Valdez is a Texan through and through. The daughter of first generation Mexican American parents, she grew up eating flour tortillas made by her mom and grandma.

After graduating from St. Edward’s University in 2000, Valdez packed two suitcases and moved to Los Angeles, where she hunted for good breakfast tacos to cure her homesickness, she spent some of her 20s as a massage therapist and spa manager but dreamed of opening a restaurant that honored her Texas roots. To get restaurant experience in 2009, Valdez became a host at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro. She stayed with the restaurant group for four years to soak up everything she could, finding mentors in Keller, Laura Cunningham, and P.F. Chang’s founder Paul Fleming, a frequent guest at Bouchon. Meanwhile, Valdez workshopped her concept through backyard pop-ups featuring DJs and foil-wrapped tacos and queso.

After she graduated from what she calls her personal “Restaurant University” in 2013, Valdez opened her first HomeState location in Hollywood—using a $5,000 loan that her mom took out from her retirement fund. Ever-growing with additional outposts in Highland Park, Playa Vista, and West Adams with Pasadena and Sherman Oaks in the works, she’s created a restaurant concept where every employee is paid a living wage and everything is made by hand. The food reflects Texas as a whole, in addition to Valdez’s own family history.