El Tiempo Expands Again

Popular Tex-Mex chain continues rapid expansion, about to tempt Oak Forest residents

Popular Tex-Mex chain continues expansion, heading to Oak Forest

El Tiempo Oak Forest exterior
Photo by El Tiempo Cantina

Popular local Tex-Mex chain El Tiempo announced Monday that it will be taking its signature fajitas and margaritas to the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest area by acquiring the former Cafe Red Onion space on the Northwest Freeway. If all goes according to plan, the restaurant will open "by Christmas," according to statement.

The company, which is owned by Roland Laurenzo and his son Dominic, traces its culinary heritage to legendary Houston restaurateur Ninfa Laurenzo, who helped popularize fajitas from her namesake restaurant in the Second Ward. The company has been growing at a rapid pace over the past couple of years by adding locations in Memorial and a second Montrose location in the former La Strada/Casa de Caballo space.

Despite the new Montrose location's proximity to the company's original 1308 Cantina, both outposts are doing well financially. In July, 1308 reported liquor sales of over $134,000 and the new location wracked up over $166,000 in sales, per the State Comptroller's Office.  With sales of over $233,000 in July, the Washington Avenue outpost remains the company's highest grossing restaurant.

Meanwhile, lawsuits related to the agreement between El Tiempo and Liquid Gold Hospitality to open a location in the Clear Lake/Webster area continue to work their way through both state and federal court. In March, franchisee El Tiempo Global Ltd filed suit "alleging construction firm MKWW Management Inc. padded invoices for a Webster, Texas, remodeling project with material misrepresentations as to value, scope and consent for the labor or material furnished," according to Law 360.

El Tiempo's spokesman tells CultureMap he has "no update" on the status of the location.