Many of us at DFW.com are Facebook friends with Kevin Short, a music fan and supported or the local-music scene. But Kevin also eats, and his non-music posts also bring stuff to our attention.
Such as the return of the Fuego Burger.
“Just by chance I happened upon another Taqueria/Burger joint located in a gas station and convenience store in the tiny town of Rendon,” Short posted Monday on Facebook. “It just happened to be owned by former Salsa Fuego owners Carlos and Christie Rodriguez.”
And as evidence, Short posted a photo of the menu for 5ive Spice Kitchen, which is inside a Phillips 66 at Rendon Road and FM 1187. And there, on the menu, is the much-missed Fuego Burger, out of our orbit since Salsa Fuego closed in October 2015.
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And it’s been back longer than we expected. The Rodriguezes have been quiet about the new spot — reached by text, Carlos Rodriguez says that 5ive Spice Kitchen has been open since the day before Thanksgiving. Maybe they were trying to avoid crowds.
There’s a Yelp page with a few photos, but no reviews; there does not appear to be a website or a Facebook page. Short posted a photo of the exterior on Facebook, but other than a “taqueria” sign on the window, it’s hard to tell anything about the restaurant from the photo.
For the uninitiated, the Fuego Burger is one of the best green-chile cheeseburgers we’ve ever had, a beefy burger surrounded by a gravity-defying ring of fried cheese. We liked the burger so much that we made room for Salsa Fuego, a Mexican restaurant, in our 2015 Battle of the Burgers bracket, previously reserved for burger-specific joints (we made room for a couple of other non-burger joints with extensive burger menus as well).
We were equally — and sometimes more — impressed by the Big Tex, which is also on the 5ive Spice Kitchen menu. It’s a monster of a double-meat, double-cheese burger with crisp bacon sticking out from it in every direction, as if it would pull you in and eat you if you didn’t get to it first.
The 5ive Spice menu ealso includes tacos and a few other Mexican dishes (including a chile verde that was also one of our Salsa Fuego faves). There are a half-dozen other burgers (the burger menu is very similar to Salsa Fuego’s), a couple of chicken sandwiches and, in a real wild card, a gyro.
5ive Spice is the latest chapter in a Salsa Fuego saga. During the Burger Battle, which took place in August and September, readers reported unexpected closures of the restaurant that lasted a few days. Rodriguez told DFW.com at the time that the closures were due to a family emergency. The restaurant came close to forfeiting in the Burger Battle, but it was always open when the judges made their visits. It made it all the way to the final two before being toppled by the champ, Dutch’s Legendary Hamburgers.
Then, in October, Salsa Fuego closed for good, although it wasn’t till November that Rodriguez confirmed the closure to DFW.com contributor Malcolm Mayhew. By that time, there was a letter on Salsa Fuego’s door and changed locks because of non-payment of rent.
Salsa Fuego had previously been located on Alta Mere Boulevard just north of the Benbrook traffic circle. Opened in 2009, it was named one of the five “Best Mexican” restaurants in Texas in 2010, but it had just as much of a following for its burgers as its Mexican food. In early 2015, it moved into a larger location nearby at the former Peony Chinese Restaurant, and Carlos Rodriguez announced plans to build a Fuego Burger in the old spot.
But those plans didn’t pan out. The old spot became The Dive Oyster Bar, and the newer, larger location shut down. This smaller location looks more the right speed. Time for a small road trip from our offices to Rendon for some burgers and chile verde.