900 tortillas per hour
Masterminds behind River Oaks see-and-be-seen spot bringing family-friendly Tex-Mex to Bellaire
One of Houston's top names in Tex-Mex is bringing a family-friendly restaurant to Bellaire. Palacios Murphy hospitality group will open Mandito's in early 2023 at 5101 Bellaire Blvd.
Best known for River Oaks favorite Armandos, Palacios Murphy is owned by Cinda and Armando Palacios. The couple also own Lulu's, an Italian restaurant that opened last year in the same shopping center as Armandos. Mandito's original location is part of Palacios Murphy's operations in Round Top. Just as Lulu's is named for Armando's nickname for Cinda, Mandito's stems from a nickname Armando had as a child — "little Armando."
While Armandos is known for its fine dining aspects such as white table cloths and its signature Thursday night dance parties, Mandito's will be a more family friendly establishment with a more casual atmosphere.
"Families and large groups will feel right at home at Mandito’s which will feature a full-on dining experience for kids with a custom kid’s menu and of course the visible tortilla machine for additional entertainment," Cinda Palacios explains in an email. "Mandito’s will have a more accessible menu…the white tablecloths will stay at Armandos."
That "visible tortilla machine" will be a BE&SCO Press and Oven that's capable of producing 900 tortillas per hour, according to the restaurant. It will certainly stay busy supplying tortillas for dishes such as burritos, enchiladas, flautas, and fajitas. The restaurant is also known for its signature burrito bowl, a clever reimagining of a taco salad with ground beef, steak, or chicken topped with lettuce, corn, cheese, avocado, beans, and more. Mandito's will also offer plant-based options.
Cocktails will be centered around different margaritas along with house originals. Food and drinks will be available for either dine-in or to-go at both lunch and dinner.
All that eating and drinking will take place in a space designed by New York-based architect Rocco DiLeo. It will also feature a 42-seat, climate-controlled patio.
Speaking of Armandos, the legendary Tex-Mex restaurant will celebrate its 45th anniversary in 2023. Asked about the decision to bring Mandito's to Bellaire rather than Armandos, Cinda Palacios notes that the couple is protective of its flagship.
"There is an indescribable magic that surrounds the Armandos experience from late-night dancing on Thursdays to Sunday family dinners filled with regulars." she writes. "Palacios Murphy wants to maintain the integrity of that magic rather than try to recreate it in another space at this time."