Temples of Tex-Mex: Vintage Restaurants

Caro's

205 N. Garcia St.

Rio Grande City

956-487-2255

Since 1937

and

Caro's

3505 Bluebonnet Circle

Fort Worth

817-924-9977

Since 1954

What to get: Tostadas and puffed tacos

Both locations are run by the third ­generation of Modesta Caro's family, and both offer hot, pillowy tostadas and puffed tacos in a frozen-in-amber ambience.

El Fenix (downtown location)

1601 McKinney

Dallas

214-747-1121

Founded in 1918

What to get: Special Mexican Dinner

The new corporate owners promise that nothing's going to change at this iconic Tex-Mex institution, but better go eat a cheese taco soon just in case.

Original Mexican Café

4713 Camp Bowie Blvd.

Fort Worth

817-738-6226

Since 1926

What to get: Roosevelt Special

Nothing has changed here since Amon Carter hung out in the bar. If a combo platter with two fried eggs on top of the enchiladas sounds a little heavy, try the enchilada omelet — a cheese enchilada inside an envelope of scrambled eggs.

Palmetto Inn

1817 Padre Blvd.

South Padre Island

956-761-4325

Since 1945

What to get: #10 Dinner, shrimp cocktail

The shrimp cocktail and shrimp fajitas are tempting with the beach so close, but don't ignore the old-fashioned Tex-Mex at this last location of a once-famous chain. The fresh-fried thick masa chips rock.

Original Mexican Cafe

1401 Market St.

Galveston

409-762-6001

Since 1916

What to get: Tamales with chili con carne

You'd never know you were eating in the oldest Tex-Mex joint in the state — the waiters are clueless about the restaurant's history, and the manager has only been there a few months. The Original was sold to new owners last September. We hope they wake up and smell the chili pretty soon.

Matt's El Rancho

2613 S. Lamar Blvd.

Austin

512-462-9333

Since 1925

What to get: Old-fashioned tacos

This is another family dynasty. Delphino Martinez pushed a tamale cart on Congress Avenue and opened Austin's El Original in 1925, and his son Matt Martinez opened Matt's El Rancho in 1952. The new location on South Lamar features potent margs and a fabulous patio.

Leal's

Leal's Mexican Restaurant

1010 W. American Blvd.

Muleshoe

806-272-3294

Since 1957

What to get: Enchiladas in New Mexican red chile sauce

This West Texas chain started out as Irma Leal's tortilla factory in a tin-roofed building in Muleshoe. Early patrons were mostly migrant farmworkers. Now you can get their tortilla chips at Central Market.

Molina's Cantina

7901 Westheimer

Houston

713-782-0861

Since 1941

What to get: Enchiladas de Tejas

The meaty chili con carne is what made Molina's famous — it's made with lots of cumin and just a touch of chili powder. Try it over tamales or cheese enchiladas with raw onions on top (enchiladas de Tejas).

A Few Other Suggestions:

Cisco's Bakery

1511 E. Sixth

Austin

512-478-2420

Since 1949

What to get: Huevos rancheros, Bloody Mary

El Patio

2938 Guadalupe

Austin

512-476-5955

Since 1952

What to get: Chalupas

Jaime's Spanish Village

802 Red River

Austin

512-476-5149

Since 1931

What to get: "Dip compuesto" (chile con queso with guacamole)

Moya's Café

401 2nd St.

Refugio

361-526-9124

Since 1938

What to get: Enchilada in Friday sauce

Mi Tierra

218 Produce Row

San Antonio

210-225-1262

Since 1941

What to get: Huevos rancheros, Mexican cookies

Jacala

606 West Ave.

San Antonio

210-732-5222

Since 1949

What to get: Puffy tacos

El Ranchito

983 N. Hwy. 123 , Seguin

830-303-7802

Since 1941

What to get: Chile relleno

 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
 
Loading...