Which is worse: Having to explain the difference between Original Ninfa's on Navigation and the rest of the underwhleming Ninfa's around Houston, or the fact that "comedian" Carlos Mencia has a successful and growing restaurant chain?
As first reported by Eater, three Mama Ninfa's concepts are being converted into Maggie Rita's Modern Mex restaurants. The affected locations are at Kirby Drive at Richmond, on Post Oak Boulevard near Uptown Park and on Gulf Freeway near Hobby Airport.
"Our clients are old Taco Bell clients who grew up with Taco Bell as Mexican food. Their palates don't appreciate what we grew up with as Mexican food."
Co-owner Santiago Moreno was a part of the restaurant group that bought Ninfa's out of bankruptcy in 1998, selling Original Ninfa's and the name rights to Legacy restaurants in 2007 while retaining franchise rights to the above locations. Moreno started Maggie Rita's with partners David Quintanilla and Mencia in 2010, with a now-closed location on the Galveston strand, followed by a location in Rice Military on Shepherd Drive. The new Maggie Rita's arising out of those Ninfa's will bring the chain to four Houston locations.
"Our clients are old Taco Bell clients who grew up with Taco Bell as Mexican food. Their palates don't appreciate what we grew up with as Mexican food," Moreno tells Eater, adding that women only care about margaritas, not the quality of food, when choosing restaurants.
From a total of nearly 20 locations just a few years ago, now there are only four Mama Ninfa's remaining. Is it possible that eventually Original Ninfa's will be the only Ninfa's left? (And would that be a bad thing?)
What do you think of the Ninfa's/Maggie Rita's switchover?