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New Tex-Mex place moves in on The Original Ninfa's: Ex-Ninfa's owners to compete as neighbors

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El Tiempo Cantina on Richmond Photo by Chris Conyers
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Ninfa's on Navigation Ninfa's on Navigation/Facebook

When I think about neighborhoods lacking in good Tex-Mex, the area surrounding Ninfa's on Navigation doesn't come to mind.

In addition to the locally famous restaurant, known as the birthplace of the fajita, Navigation also houses three other Mexican restaurants: Breakfast taco haven Villa Arcos, Merida Mexican Restaurant and Dona Maria, which is virtually across the street from 'Mama' Ninfa Laurenzo's original kitchen.

That's not stopping the Laurenzo family, who no longer own Ninfa's. They are planning a return to the neighborhood with their fifth El Tiempo Cantina, (which was first reported by Houston Business Journal). Domenic Laurenzo told HBJ's Jennifer Dawson that the family had purchased a quarter-acre tract of land at 2806 Navigation Blvd., next door to the Original Ninfa's, and plans to construct the new restaurant from scratch on an adjacent plot at the intersection of Navigation and N. Paige Street.

El Tiempo is expected to open in the spring of 2013 with the same menu as the other location and seating for 300 to 325 people in the planned restaurant and bar.

“Our focus is on returning to our roots and helping to take part in the revitalization of the Second Ward,” Laurenzo said.

Still, it begs the question: In a Tex-Mex faceoff, who would get your vote — El Tiempo Cantina or Original Ninfa's on Navigation?

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