The Houston Press‘s Food Blog reports that the Felix Mexican Restaurant on Westheimer near Montrose has served its last enchilada. Finding the 60-year-old restaurant closed, patrons have been posting notes on the front door asking for an explanation.
More than three years ago, owner Felix Tijerina Jr., son of the Felix chain’s founder, reported to Marvin Zindler that the restaurant was about to go belly up. From a Houston Business Journal report in February 2005:
But ever since M-a-a-a-rvin broadcast the bombshell, legions of Felix groupies have descended upon the little faux hacienda for what might be a final nostalgic fix of Mexican treats drenched in cheese and chili.
Tijerina says his phone has been ringing off the hook with customers pleading with him to keep the restaurant open, and says he’s also received letters from patrons in San Antonio and as far away as North Carolina.
It worked for a while. This time, there were no media warnings.
After the jump, a look back at Felix’s place in Houston’s history (there used to be 6 locations!), plus a reprise of David Beebe’s Felix restaurant restoration concept!
From Robb Walsh’s biography of restaurant founder Felix Tijerina Sr., part of the author’s multi-part history of Tex-Mex, published almost eight years ago in the Houston Press:
Tijerina’s story is a study in assimilation. His mission was to help Mexican-Americans merge into the American mainstream as successfully as he had. His cooking style was not about bringing authentic Mexican flavors to Texas; it was about putting Anglos at ease with things Mexican. His floury chili gravy and fluffy chili con queso were not far from brown gravy and cheese dip, and the spicing of his sauces was nonconfrontational to the delicate Anglo palate. Early Mexican restaurants like Felix’s were among the first institutions where urban Anglos and Hispanics rubbed elbows. Tijerina’s Americanized version of Mexican cooking was what brought the races together. And it was a triumph of diplomacy.
And from the musings of former Felix patron David Beebe earlier this year, musing about the future of Tex-Mex during a walk through Long Point:
I came to the conclusion that the Tijerina family should basically convert Felix into a Mexican version of Goode’s Armadillo Palace. Margaritas, music, food and beer. The old people can dine in the back “party room” which is currrently (and sadly) a junk room.
- Felix Mexican Restaurant Closes After 60 Years in Business [Eating . . . Our Words, via Mike McGuff]
- Felix may not get nixed after all [Houston Business Journal]
- Combination Plates [Houston Press]
- Cold, windy and rainy. John Lomax and I walk Long Point from start to finish and beyond [David Beebe’s take on music and more in Texas]
- Long Point, Long Walk, Long Story [Swamplot]
Photo: Debra Jane Seltzer