Tiny El Taquito Cafe was always an off-the-beaten-path favorite.
Now, the little Tex-Mex cafe has new owners, a new menu and new reasons to find the way to the corner of Clifford Street and North Las Vegas Trail.
Near the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics gate, not far from the turn to the legendary Point at Lake Worth, El Taquito was known for 25 years as a morning breakfast burrito stop.
New owners William Almaras and Nestor Saldivar completely overhauled former owner Marie Hertel's shop into a full-service, all-day restaurant.
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El Taquito still serves burritos, but now it also serves ribeye steaks and sizzling fajitas.
Almaras and Saldivar have experience with a major general-menu restaurant chain.
That shows in the depth of their menu, from the expected tacos and enchiladas to a rib-eye steak, pork ribs, roasted tilapia and even seared salmon. The prices range from $13.99 to $21.99 (lunches are $8.99-$15.99).
On a visit last week, El Taquito impressed not only for its versatility but also for quality.
The restaurant is serving familiar Tex-Mex and American dishes, but with tender steak and fajita beef and sliced chicken breast.
A fajitas platter ($11.99 at lunch) was served in a cloud of steam, popping and cracking with the sounds that give fajitas such an impressive presentation.
The enchilada selection includes the usual beef, cheese-and-onion or chicken, plus chicken and brisket.
At breakfast — El Taquito has started by opening at 5 a.m. weekdays, although that may change — the restaurant still serves Hertel's old-school tacos but adds egg dishes, pancakes and omelets with the usual fillings but also carnitas, spinach and mushrooms.
Three little words: Dad eats free
Father's Day isn't as busy as Easter or Mother's Day, and it's usually too hot for a patio.
But all the prime steakhouses will serve lunch Sunday, along with some holiday specials.
Most restaurants have space available, except for a few high-demand favorites. (Hunter Brothers H3 Ranch steakhouse in the Fort Worth Stockyards and The Tavern grill have limited space at noon, but have early and late tables.)
For a larger family, try one of the Del Frisco's Grille locations, J.R.'s Steak and Grill in Colleyville, the Keg Steakhouse & Bar in Arlington, Lucile's Stateside Bistro in Fort Worth or Ruth's Chris Steak House in Fort Worth.
For a take-home meat feast, Heim Barbecue is offering chopped brisket or pulled pork sandwiches for 12 with bacon "burnt ends," twice-baked potato slaad and slaw for $265, or whole briskets for $130; order at 817-233-2441, 1109 W.Magnolia Ave., heimbbq.com.
Deals on steaks, wine, pizza and more
Celebration week continues at three local restaurants
A reminder about the specials this week:
▪ Jake & Dorothy's Cafe, marking 70 years: $5 lunches Wednesday; $6.95 catfish dinners after 5 p.m. Thursday; $6 sirloins after 5 p.m. Friday; 70-cent open-face hot chicken-fried steak sandwiches after 5 p.m. Saturday; 406 E. Washington St., Stephenville, 254-965-5211.
▪ Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, marking 18 years: $18 garlic-stuffed tenderloin through Saturday to celebrate 18 years, also a prime rib lunch special Friday for $16; 2406 N. Main St., 817-740-8810, lonesomedovefortworth.com.
▪ Mama's Pizza, marking 50 years: half off all menu items Wednesday (except the buffet); 50-cent breadsticks Thursday; $5 lunch buffet Friday; $15 extra-large Mama's Saturday; $19.68 for two larges Sunday. Six locations; mamaspizzas.net.
▪ Winslow's Wine Cafe, marking 10 years : $10 cheese boards Wednesday; complimentary champagne toast Thursday; $10 LangeTwins Caricature wine tasting Friday; $20 wine flights benefiting dog adoptions Saturday; and a $25 Father's Day barbecue buffet Sunday; 4101 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-546-6845, winslowswinecafe.com.
The next anniversary ahead is Fiesta Mexican Restaurant, celebrating 40 years later this month.