Mary Trevino was born in Guanaquato, in central Mexico, and was raised in San Antonio. When she and her husband, Julian, bought the El Mirador Restaurant in 1968, after he retired as a cattleman and butcher, she had no intention of cooking, but began doing things the way she remembered her mother cooking it. Self-taught, her cooking was a combination of Mexican and Tex-Mex, and prepared from scratch. The restaurant was only open for breakfast and lunch and became part of the fabric of San Antonio.
When the Great Chefs television crew showed up in 1986 to tape her for some down-home segments for their PBS television series, she was already seventy years old and still working the line. Mary prepared three dishes for the Great Chefs of the West television series and appeared in episodes 3, 4 & 10.
Mary (Maria) cooked until 2008 when she retired at age 97 turning the stoves over to someone younger. She passed in 2013 and her son, Julian, sold the restaurant a year later to Chris Hill, a person they felt would continue the legacy and its roots. As of this writing in October 2016, it closed for renovations in late May 2016, and they hope to reopen soon.