New Tex-Mex downtown

Downtown Tex-Mex institution serves up new name and luxe new locale

Downtown Tex-Mex institution serves up new name and luxe new locale

Irma Southwest sea bass
Herb-seared Chilean sea bass. Photo by Duc Hoang
Irma's Southwest Galvan family
Family members Nick Galvan, Louis and Patricia Galvan, and Jacob Gutierrez . Photo by Duc Hoang
Irma's Southwest carne asada
Carne asada. Photo by Duc Hoang
Irma Southwest sea bass
Irma's Southwest Galvan family
Irma's Southwest carne asada

A downtown Tex-Mex institution has a new name and a new location. Along with relocating Irma's Southwest Grill from the Great Southwest building to downtown's Catalyst luxury apartment tower, Patricia and Louis Galvan have also shortened the name by dropping the word "grill." 

Previously, Irma's Southwest operated with the same no menu policy as Irma's Original, but the new location, which opened quietly last week, brings a printed menu, which means diners will know what their meals cost before the check arrives. Score one for transparency. 

With or without the word "grill" in its name, the new Irma's Southwest will continue the tradition Louis Galvan started over 20 years ago, when he left his mother Irma's iconic restaurant Irma's Original and went off on his own. The menu features Tex-Mex classics like carne guisada, carnitas, and enchiladas alongside dishes made with venison, antelope, and wild boar that's sourced from Broken Arrow Ranch in Ingram, TX. A new section of shareable items includes a daily ceviche, bacon-wrapped shrimp, two new quesadillas, and tamales stuffed with queso fresco and jalapeno. Of course, chips and queso — the classic Tex-Mex "shareable starter" — is available, too.

Those dishes get matched with a new cocktail menu created by Galvan's son Jacob Gutierrez, along with some advice from Agricole Hospitality co-owner Morgan Weber. In addition to the expected margaritas and Mexican brews, Irma's Southwest now offers a few Texas craft beers. 

All that drinking and dining takes place in a 7,700-square foot space that seats about 200 people. Steel and glass divider walls mean the space can be broken up into three sections, which should add appeal for private groups. Expect the 60-seat bar and lounge to become a popular destination with both courthouse types seeking a little comfort before heading home for the night and Catalyst residents enjoying their building's newest amenity.

"This is the community where my mother opened her restaurant in 1988. It’s where I learned about the business and where Trisha and I opened our first concept,” Louis Galvan said in a statement. “We owe so much to our downtown patrons, and we want to say thank you with a more warm and sleek interiors to take us into the next 20 years. Our new location will showcase all the wonderful recipes Houstonians have grown to love in a much more inviting atmosphere.”

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