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The man who will change Ninfa's? Bobby Heugel insists Tex-Mex icon's revamp will not be dramatic

The man who will change Ninfa's? Bobby Heugel insists Tex-Mex icon's revamp will not be dramatic

News_Ninfa's on Navigation, exterior, night
Ninfa's aging interior is getting some 21st-century love this week, as crews work to improve plumbing and electrical systems. Courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
bobby heugel alex padilla ninfas bar menu
Bobby Heugel, left, and Alex Padilla Photo by Eric Hester
News_Ninfa's on Navigation, patio
Heugel helped revamp the institution's drink menu in 2011 before signing on as an operating partner this past fall. Courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
News_Ninfa's on Navigation, exterior, night
bobby heugel alex padilla ninfas bar menu
News_Ninfa's on Navigation, patio

Some Houston foodies are freaking out over a series of long-overdue renovation projects at the original Ninfa's on Navigation.

But before anyone calls the historic preservation department, CultureMap wanted to get some details from Bobby Heugel, who now serves as an operating partner for the Tex-Mex institution in addition to his regular duties with AnvilOKRA and Hay Merchant.

"I hate to say it, but the work being done is totally not that exciting," Heugel laughs.

"I hate to say it, but the work being done is totally not that exciting."

"We're taking down the ceiling in the dining room to fix some old wiring and prevent any fire hazards. We'll be replacing drywall and repainting, but that's really the bulk of it."

After all that nervous excitement, the rewiring project should be completed by Wednesday.

Plumbing and A/C systems — which date back to the late 1940s when the humble wood-and-masonry structure was built — will be updated in the next few months, with a new roof coming just on the horizon. The restaurant will remain open throughout the construction.

"We want to change as little as possible at Ninfa's, of course," Heugel assures. "It's an old building and we need to protect it to make sure it stays standing."

That same philosophy of stewardship will continue as the celebrated cocktail guru looks to tweak the bar's drink menu this spring . . . think classic concoctions with the freshest ingredients available.