Post Oak Grill
Polo Becerra is the owner and CEO of three upscale restaurants in the Houston Metro area, employing over 230 employees. His journey in the food industry began at the age of thirteen as a dishwasher at a restaurant in Mexico. Today Polo is a renowned chef and with the assistance of the SBA, he was able to fulfill his dream of becoming a restaurant owner.
Born in Jalisco, Mexico, near Puerto Vallarta, Polo worked his way up from dishwasher to waiter, captain waiter, cook, chef’s assistant and later Executive Chef working at some esteemed hotels such as Camino Real and Fiesta Americana. Eager to learn everything about the culinary arts, Polo came to Houston, Texas to learn English and improve his cooking skills. He had to work as a kitchen hand because he couldn’t speak English. He liked the Houston restaurant industry so much he decided to stay. In 1988, Polo accepted his cousin’s offer to partner with him and invest in a Mexican restaurant. The restaurant failed and Polo lost all of his savings.
In 1990, Polo got a break and was hired as a cook for the upscale Post Oak Grill in the prestigious Tanglewood area of Houston. Polo became the chef and kitchen manager of the Post Oak Grill. He was later offered partial ownership of the restaurant and in 2002 he had the opportunity to buy the entire company.
He had borrowed money from friends to buy partial shares of the restaurant but needed more help to buy the whole business. Polo was turned down by several lenders before learning through a friend about the SBA and the Small Business Development Center (a resource partner of the SBA. In 2004, Polo obtained a SBA guaranteed 7(a) loan for $875,000 to purchase the Post Oak Grill Company which employed 60 people. A year and a half later Polo was approved for a $25,000 SBA community express program loan for working capital.
In 2009, the recession hit the Houston market hard and Polo received a $100,000 SBA 7(a) program loan for working capital.
This year, Polo opened the new Habaneros Mex Grill, an upscale Mexican cuisine restaurant. Since his first SBA loan, Polo has added over 200 employees to his restaurant family.