Lard Almighty: Tower Theatre’s Coming Attraction Is Grease II

A reader sends word that a TABC alcohol-license notice posted on the side of the former Tower Theatre at 1201 Westheimer — where Hollywood Video was sent packing late last year — reveals the name of the old-style Tex-Mex restaurant former Houston Press food critic Robb Walsh and Iron Chef contestant Bryan Caswell will be inserting into the long-gutted moviehouse. As announced in the Press‘s food blog earlier this month, it’ll be El Real Tex Mex Cafe. Alas, no notice has yet been posted warning customers of the restaurant’s special featured ingredient:


Lard. Lots and lots of lard.

“In the old days,” [Walsh begins], “Tex-Mex was made with lard. And before there was hydrogenated lard in the store, it was made with fresh rendered lard. It has this wonderful roasted pork flavor, you know?” But everything good eventually comes to an end, and the era of lard was no exception. . . .

As he consults on the menu and recipes for El Real, Walsh aims to bring back seriously old-school Tex-Mex in ways no other restaurant is currently doing. “I can’t think of any other restaurant that uses rendered lard,” he asserted. Along with Caswell, they’ve contacted Morgan Weber at Revival Meats to see about using the lard left over from the butchering and sale of Weber’s increasingly popular heritage pigs.

Rendering of El Real Tex Mex Restaurant in Former Tower Theatre: Robb Walsh

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