Tablet Life & Arts

Eats Beat: Cardona Foods’ factory-cafe grows, adds Sunday breakfast

Cardona Foods is a Tex-Mex hidden secret.

But now that the Fort Worth tortilla factory has converted a fourth office to lunch dining space, maybe it isn’t so secret anymore.

The company foyer and executive office are now the low-profile Cardona factory cafe, serving a complete Tex-Mex menu at lunch only weekdays and Sundays, plus Sunday breakfast.

From its start serving simple lunches in the company break room, Cardona Foods now serves more than 20 platters, including enchiladas verdes, chiles rellenos, mahi-mahi tacos and traditional Tex-Mex combinations.

They’re served with factory-fresh chips and tortillas, the same ones Cardona sells in supermarkets and to dozens of other Texas restaurants.

The factory cafe recently reopened Sundays after years serving only weekday lunches in the warehouses on East Meacham Boulevard at Blue Mound Road.

“Dad wanted us to rest weekends, but our customers really like having us back open Sundays,” said Gloria Cardona, daughter of the late Bennie Cardona.

The family is in its 80th year serving Fort Worth, first at immigrant grandfather B.G. Cardona’s north-side bakery and, since 1976, by making chips and tortillas.

The cafe started about 1996 in a break room near the front door, and recently took over a fourth office.

“We ran out of room for dining, but we’ll also have to expand the chip operation,” she said. Gloria’s and G. Cardona’s chips are now sold in specialty grocers, and the company also makes flour tortillas for several fast-growing taco and burrito shops.

Lunch platters start at about $8 for a two-item combination plate and top out at about $12 for grilled tilapia Veracruz.

Sunday breakfasts sell for about $7, with lunch starting at 11:30 a.m.

Cardona Foods also sells tamales ($9.95 per dozen), chips, tortillas and fresh salsa.

Cardona is open 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays at 850 Meacham Blvd., one block west of Blue Mound Road (Farm Road 156). It’s about a mile south of Loop 820. 817-625-6477, facebook.com/cardonafoods.

Hurst’s turn for tasting

A reminder: Thursday is the Taste of Northeast event in Hurst, featuring Colleyville, Hurst and Southlake restaurants.

Cafe Medi, Chef Point Cafe, Citrus Bistro and Howard Wang’s China Grill are among the restaurants serving tastings, along with steakhouses Texas Land & Cattle and Texas Roadhouse.

It’s a $25 advance ticket ( artscouncilnortheast.org), and go early. It starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Hurst Convention Center.

Cheese changeout

Changes continue on West Magnolia Avenue, where the restaurant market finally may be maxed out.

Magnolia Cheese Co., originally a cafe, closed and will reopen in early 2015 as a specialty market named Magnolia Market & Cheese Co.

The innovative 24 Plates restaurant already had closed abruptly. The restaurant was promoting a new chef and menu when one of the investors left.

Even the often-crowded Cane Rosso is promoting the free Magnolia Green parking garage a block away at 1201 Alston Ave.

Lunch Box North

A hit in north Fort Worth: The Lunch Box is now serving at its second location, 2730 Western Center Blvd. in Western Center Plaza.

The familiar west Fort Worth salad-and-sandwich cafe was mostly crowded at lunch one day this week and had already run out of its popular chicken salad and cookies.

Look for the Lunch Box near Fred’s Texas Cafe North; open at 10:30 a.m. daily except Sundays, 817-307-0313, eatthelunchbox.com or facebook.com/eatthelunchboxnorthfw.

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