Good news for patrons of the Montose location of El Tiempo Cantina. The high end Tex-Mex restaurant, which has to relocate to make way for a new apartment building, will take over the space currently occupied by Mexican steakhouse La Casa del Caballo.
However, this is not the end of the line for La Casa del Caballo; the restaurant is in the process of finding a new location in Bellaire. Fans of the restaurant's signature, four-pound tapa de lomo ribeye cap and top-notch enchiladas have until December 31 to get one last taste at the original location.
"This is a deal we closed a week ago," Casa del Caballo owner Carlos Abedrop tells CultureMap (which confirms the rumor tweeted Sunday by Chronicle critic Alison Cook). "We thought we could use a smaller building than what we have, and they want a bigger building. It’s a win-win situation."
Abedrop estimates that his restaurant will close for two to three months during the transition. As for El Tiempo, owner Roland Laurenzo tells the Chronicle that 1308 Cantina will stay open while the remodel takes place; he expects the new location to open April 1.
The space on lower Westheimer has the reputation for being "cursed" due to the high number of concepts that have occupied the space over the years. Joining La Casa del Caballo on the list are Sunday brunch hot spot La Strada, Tony Vallone's short-lived, casual Italian restaurant Caffe Bello and suburban Tex-Mex restaurant Don Julio. Given El Tiempo's many years of success in the neighborhood, it seems unlikely that the owners are concerned about the space's history.
"We have not done bad, but we have not been able to, how would I say, use the building as it should have been used," Abedrop says. "Our plans were to keep on working for a couple more years. A restaurant like mine takes three to four years to be set right and operating in order."
Although Abedrop says his restaurant has been well-received in Montrose, he has noticed that many of his customers are coming from outside the neighborhood. He hopes they'll follow him to his new location. If the transition goes well, Abedrop anticipates opening a second location in another part of the city by the end of 2015.
"We have done well. We have met 75 percent of our goals . . . We want to continue," Abedrop adds. "Some people love our concept. Some people hate it, but that’s how it is in this life, right?"