Galleria-area shoppers will soon be able to get their fix of green salsa, fajitas, and Ninfaritas. The Original Ninfa's on Navigation announced that it will open a second location in the BLVD Place mixed-use complex that it's calling The Original Ninfa's Uptown Houston.
Slated to open in "late spring 2019," the new Ninfa's will claim the former Peska space at the corner of Post Oak and San Felipe. The restaurant has tapped Austin's acclaimed Michael Hsu Office of Architecture to transform the almost 300-seat restaurant. Changes to the kitchen will include the installation of a wood-burning grill and oven, and, of course, the installation of a tortilla station in view of the dining room.
“We obviously can’t recreate the interior design of the 45-year-old restaurant on Navigation, but we will make this modern location feel as comfortable and inviting as The Original,” Legacy Restaurants CEO Jonathan Horowitz said in a statement. “It will both be an homage to the Navigation restaurant and an appealing destination for customers who live and/or work in the Uptown Houston area.”
Although a handful of other Ninfa's locations exist, they operate under a longstanding license agreement. The new restaurant will be the only one owned and operated by the same company as the original on Navigation.
One thing that won't change between Navigation and the Galleria restaurants is the menu. Expect it to feature the same fajitas, margaritas, and Tex-Mex favorites that Ninfa's has been serving since the '70s. Executive chef Alex Padilla will oversee the kitchen, which will be under the day-to-day direction of a chef de cuisine that Padilla will train.
“We have been looking for a premier location for the first ‘new’ Original Ninfa’s, and we have been focused on the Galleria/Uptown area for some time,” Horowitz added. “The size of this space and its location are just what we were searching for. As for the restaurant itself, we don’t see the need to make any significant changes to The Original Ninfa’s formula – both the classic items and the exciting new additions Chef Padilla has made over the past 12 years are extremely popular with our guests. If it’s not broken, we’re not going to try to fix it.”
As Horowitz noted, Legacy has been looking to bring Ninfa's to the Galleria area for some time. In 2017, the company had reached a tentative agreement with Lasco Enterprises to takeover the Anejo space in Uptown Park, but the space's landlords, AmREIT Uptown Park, LP and Edens Limited Partnership, wouldn't consent to the switch. A lawsuit related to that situation is still ongoing.
A new Ninfa's isn't the only way Legacy plans to grow the brand. The company also announced plans to open a fast casual spin-off called Mama Ninfa’s Tacos y Tortas. The first location of that concept will open in downtown's Understory food hall in 2019.