Abhi Sreerama's Facebook page announcing the decision to close.
It's been a Museum District fixture for nearly seven decades, serving its famous queso, margaritas and enchiladas since 1953. Spanish Village is the second oldest Mexican restaurant in Houston, coming in after Molina's which opened in 1941. It has served as a gathering place for families celebrating milestones and for friends getting together for margaritas and conversation underneath its year-round Christmas lights. Now, it is shuttering its doors July 17, with reservations-only dining until then.
The announcement was made by owner Abhi Sreerama on Facebook. Sreerama bought the venerated restaurant from John Medina in 2018. He brought in his wife, Chef Ishita Chakravarty to downsize the menu while keeping the standard favorites that have been keeping Houstonians coming through its doors for 68 years. Chakravarty also created a good-sized vegan menu to accompany the main menu which become very popular. In the Facebook post, Sreerama mentioned that he would try and keep the Little Vegan menu going as the restaurant negotiates with potential buyers for the Spanish Village brand.
The restaurant has had occasional hiccups in the past few decades. When original owner Larry Pico retired and sold the brand to John and Joe Medina, the father/son duo had some disagreements and at one time, there were two Spanish Village restaurants in Houston in the mid-1990s, as reported by the Houston Press
As Sreerama prepares to close the restaurant, it remains to be seen what potential owners will do with the place. According to Sreerama's Facebook post, there are a number of reasons for the shuttering, one being the structure itself. Certainly the pandemic had some effect but it seemed to be doing a pretty brisk amount of take-out business.
In the post, Sreerama says, "I can't express exactly how much of an amazing journey the past three or more years have been. Ish and I have poured our hearts into revitalizing the restaurant...We've felt a whirlwind of emotions over the past few weeks...In the end, though, a mixture of issues made this decision necessary, primarily the failing building. Ish and I learned so much and made so many memories in only three and a half years; it seems criminal to let it go..."
Sreerama has set up a GoFund Me page for the employees, many of whom have worked at Spanish Village for years. All funds raised will go to the staff. For guests who have gift cards and will not be able to use them before it closes, the owner is trying to work out refunds.
If you would like to enjoy their tasty margaritas and Enchiladas A La Taylor one last time (unless the new buyers keep the same menu), reservations can be made at [email protected]
, by phone or at OpenTable.