The secret life of School Resource Officer Zeus Hernandez


Aaron Newton

Officer Zeus Hernandez stands at the counter of his restaurant La Tiendita, located at the corner of Clarkson and Manchester. He and his wife own the restaurant, which sells authentic Mexican cuisine along with groceries.

Although we often see School Resource Officer Zeus Hernandez patrolling the parking lot and monitoring student life, his passions extend beyond the hallways to his love of authentic Mexican cuisine.  

Located in Ellisville, La Tiendita Tortilleria & Marketplace is a family-owned authentic Mexican restaurant and grocery store run by Hernandez and his wife, Eva Hernandez.

“[Most Mexican restaurants here] seem to lack quality, traditional, authentic flavor,” Hernandez said. “We just thought maybe we can offer something to people that will stick out, not just because it’s a new or different place, but because people will remember the flavor and what things taste like.”

They serve traditional Mexican food such as tacos, gorditas, a variety of soups and tamales. The most popular meal is the carne asadas, which are steak tacos.

Aaron Newton
Hernandez stands at the counter, cooking a dish for a customer.

“We didn’t want to end up commercializing things or maintaining that commercial taste, like canned salsa—that stuff is just nasty,” Hernandez said. “Unfortunately, people are accustomed to that because that’s all they’ve had, so we wanted to offer something that was more authentic and traditional.”

Hernandez has been a police officer for 12 years and has owned the restaurant for three years. Working 18 hours a day, he hasn’t had a day off since May of 2016, not even sick or vacation days.

“It’s tough; my wife is the other owner, so, between her and I, we just do the best we can to manage it,” Hernandez said. “It requires a lot of sacrifice, a lot of flexibility and a lot of understanding on everybody’s part but, luckily, together, it’s doable.”

Officer Hernandez works for the school and restaurant all week, besides Mondays when the restaurant is closed.

“I’m grateful and thankful that I have work to begin with and have the ability to do it. It’s very tiring, but it’s a lot of fun. I can’t complain,” Hernandez said.