Cyclone Anaya's Sold

Iconic Houston Mexican chain acquired by major restaurant group

Iconic Houston Mexican chain acquired by major restaurant group

Cyclone Annaya's, Exterior, Durham, June 2012
Cyclone Anaya's has new owners. Photo by Karen Burd

One of Houston's most iconic restaurant brands has a new owner. Iconic Tex-Mex restaurant Cyclone Anaya's announced Monday that it has been acquired by the Heritage Restaurant Group, which is part of the Sugar Land-based Dhanani Group.

Named for its founder, who performed as a professional wrestler in the '50s, Cyclone Anaya's has been a Houston staple since 1966. The restaurant is known for its classic Tex-Mex fare and potent margaritas. From its base on Shepherd Drive, the restaurant has expanded to six Houston-area locations and an outpost in Fairfax, Virginia.

“Cyclone Anaya’s is a beloved Houston institution with deep roots in our community, just like us,” said Shoukat Dhanani, the owner of Heritage, in a statement. “We’re excited to continue the same tradition of classic Tex-Mex fare and world-class service that garnered so many fans throughout the years. As the restaurant that brought Houston the Jumbo Margarita, Cyclone Anaya’s has been an important part of the history of Tex-Mex in this city and beyond.”

Joining the Heritage Restaurant Group puts Cyclone Anaya's with the same company that owns French fast casual concept La Madeline. While most Houstonians probably aren't familiar with Heritage's parent company, the Dhanani Group is a major restaurant industry player, with over 500 Burger King and 170 Popeyes locations in Texas, New England, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Dhanani's success in turning around struggling restaurants earned him a spot on Nation's Restaurant News list of the restaurant industry's more powerful people.

Heritage says its for Cyclone Anaya's includes expanding the menu, improving customer service, and adding more locations across Texas. Corporate chef Jason Gould is no longer with the restaurant, but he is continuing his work with former owner Rico Valencia on Cyclone Anaya’s Tex-Mex Cantina in Austin and Midtown burger joint Rico’s Morning + Noon + Night.