Mike Hernandez, The Office Co.
The kitchen is his office
By Shaun Kernahan; photos courtesy of the Hernandez family
Born in Southern California, Mike Hernandez moved to Guadalajara, Mexico when he was just a baby. By the time he was 17 years old, Hernandez was ready to spread his wings and start blazing his own trail, so he moved to Utah to work in a family member’s restaurant … and he has been in the restaurant business ever since.
Working in restaurants gave Hernandez the opportunity to live in Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota and Minnesota. In 1999, he relocated to Colorado and helped his employer open a restaurant in Pueblo.
He later worked in a restaurant in Colorado Springs, where he met his wife, Alejandra. She has been at his side as he opened many restaurants, including the one that brought the family to Castle Pines when they opened A Taste of Mexico in The Village at Castle Pines shops in 2009.
Following five previous ventures serving primarily Mexican food, Hernandez changed courses in July 2017 and opened his first of three non-Mexican restaurants. The flagship location was The Office Co. in Castle Rock. The Library Co. in Castle Rock followed in October 2018, and in March – just prior to the COVID-19 lockdown – he opened The Gym Co. in Parker.
The change from Mexican food to more traditional American cuisine came when Hernandez assisted a friend in opening a restaurant in Aurora. He decided to go in that direction, especially given the
increasingly saturated Mexican food industry.
Hernandez takes pride in every aspect of the restaurant. He not only runs them, he was the contractor who handled the build-out of all three. In fact, given the current times, he has taken on a full-time contracting job in addition to running three restaurants. When asked when the last time he and his family had taken a proper vacation, he chuckled and said, “It has been a couple years.”
Mike and Alejandra have four kids, ranging in age from 11 months to 17 years. He looks forward to the admittedly limited time he gets to spend at home with his family. Although his oldest daughter is the same age Mike was when he left home and started working in restaurants, Valentina is not planning to go into the family business; she hopes to become a teacher. Perhaps Alejandro, Kamila or Carolina will step into Dad’s shoes down the line … and they are big shoes to fill.