From an early age Sandra Mason had a passion for cooking and in 2011 she opened her first restaurant and bakery, Four Kings in Universal City.
“I’ve worked in the kitchen for years and worked as an executive chef for a catering company, but I’ve been cooking since I was 10,” she said.
After working in other kitchens all her life, Mason longed for a place where she could create her own recipes and cook things that people around her enjoyed.
“A lot of places I’ve worked at, you had to go through standard operating procedures and follow requests exactly,” he said.
Mason said he was afraid to open his own restaurant at first, because he had seen some statistics showing that one in five restaurants closed within the first year of operation.
Four Kings started out with just a few tables and a small space, but was able to expand three-fold in its first year of opening due to popularity.
What was originally designed as a take-out restaurant has become a community lunch gathering spot.
In 2016, the restaurant decided to divide the sandwich shop and the bakery to make more room for guests.
Now, Mason has the help of his daughter, Jillian Parker, who helps run the restaurant with a staff of employees who are treated like family.
On the menu, the restaurant boasts sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts. In the bakery, guests can purchase cookies, cakes, freshly baked bread and more.
The restaurant also offers weekly prepared meals that customers can purchase and take home to warm up.
Mason said Four Kings prides itself on making everything on the menu from scratch, which helps when customers have specific allergies.
The restaurant’s most popular dishes include the banh mi, veggie, and turkey sandwich.
“We have people who live near SeaWorld come here on Saturdays, just to get [banh mi]”, Massone said. “Then we have people who are from Austin and all over the place.”
Specials are also offered daily, adding to the variety on the menu. Mason said he wants to leave a legacy to his family and a legacy to the community where people can continue to enjoy good food and socialize with each other.
“We just want to take care of each other and take care of our family and our community,” Mason said. “They have given us so much by standing up for us and recommending us to other customers. If you give to your community, they will take care of you.”