Just when you think Mexican Inn Cafe could never surprise you, it does.
The newest location in the local Tex-Mex restaurant chain has a huge menu, new dishes, an all-weather patio and a completely different look and feel from the older locations.
But one thing hasn’t changed: the chips.
Mexican Inn’s chips are small, puffy corn strips, like homemade Fritos.
If founder and legendary gambler Tiffin Hall ever told the history of his chip recipe, I’ve never seen it.
But his first Mexican Inn Cafe opened downtown in 1936, only four years after Mexican immigrant Gustavo Olguin sold a San Antonio investor his recipe for what became the Frito.
The combo plates are bigger now, with slightly higher prices. But a plate with three enchiladas and a taco or tamal still goes for less than $12.
The new menu adds smoked brisket tacos, enchiladas and burritos from Mexican Inn owner Chris Carroll’s other concept, Spring Creek Barbeque.
The four Fort Worth Inns include the 65-year-old No. 2 location at 612 N. Henderson St., where country singer Ernest Tubb stopped his tour bus for enchilada dinners, and a 66-year-old building at 1625 Eighth Ave. inherited from another early Tex-Mex restaurant.
Other locations are in Bedford, Burleson, Lake Worth and Mansfield.
A new location will be added next year in Keller next door to Spring Creek, Carroll said.
A new Tokyo
The Ho family bought the 1971-vintage former Pizza Hut in 1997 after several other restaurants opened and closed.
A second Bite
Chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin will open a Thai restaurant somewhere nearby in the Cultural District, he said this week through a spokeswoman.
Thretipthuangsin was the chef at Pakpao in Dallas before coming to Bite City, thriving with an American grill menu from his former restaurant in the Hamptons area of Long Island.