The widely reported news that Tila's Restaurante & Bar, a Mexican restaurant in River Oaks, had lost its lease and would close after 20 years in business follows a familiar tale. After surviving through two-and-a-half years of road construction that disrupted her business, owner Tila Hidalgo tells CultureMap that her landlord wanted to raise her rent to $12,000 per month.
When she declined to renew at the new rate, the landlord, Houston real estate firm Wulfe & Co, began the search for a new tenant. Hidalgo says it took several months, but she finally got the word a couple of weeks ago that she had 25 days to vacate.
“It was absurd, but what do you do,” Hidalgo says. Later adding, “I hate to disappoint the customers who were such loyal patrons that loved the cleanliness and authenticity of our food."
Until she builds a new space — Hidalgo says she’s in negotiations to open in Sawyer Yards but hasn’t finalized the deal — Tila’s authentic, Mexico City-style cuisine will be available via her popular food truck for both private events and at local festivals. The food truck already is a favorite at some River Oaks parties.
“We can park our truck and work out of our truck,” Hidalgo says. “Until we build our kitchen, we’ll have to cook on the truck, which will be hell, but we’ll do what we have to do.”
For her next restaurant, Hidalgo says she envisions a casual, counter service restaurant with an adjacent cantina that serves tequila, margaritas, beer, and wine. For customers who already miss signature items like Hidalgo’s salmon borracho, chiles en nogada, and marinated Chilean sea bass, that can’t come soon enough.