Restaurant News

Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen Closes Original Westheimer Location

Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen sadly shutters on Westheimer.
Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen sadly shutters on Westheimer. Houston Press photo

Bittersweet news for fans of Houston's enchilada queen, Sylvia Casares. The 16-year-old flagship location of her beloved eatery Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen at 12637 Westheimer has closed for good as of January 28.

A press release notes that the main reason for the closure is the fact that the original location couldn't keep up with the popularity of newer Sylvia's locations at Woodway (opened in 2009) and Eldridge (opened in 2014). Both of those restaurants include wood-fire grills, and the Memorial location offers cooking classes, neither of which Casares could make feasible at the flagship.

Also according to the press release, negotiations for the Westheimer space are already in the works with another, unnamed restaurant group. The location was actually the second Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen. The original opened in 1998 at a “hidden” Westheimer location, making the move to 12637 Westheimer in 2001.

The decision to shutter on Westheimer has been an emotional one for Casares, who has had her share of ups and downs over the years. In 2012, she was shot in the stomach by her boyfriend. Just this past year St. Martin's Press released her debut The Enchilada Queen Cookbook.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.