get in line for the mambo taxi
Dallas Tex-Mex staple makes big Houston return near River Oaks District
One of Dallas’s most popular Tex-Mex restaurants is returning to the Houston area. Mi Cocina has claimed the former Seasons 52 location near River Oaks District (4410 Westheimer Rd.) for a new restaurant that will open this fall.
A Dallas staple for more than 30 years, Mi Cocina is known for its upscale Tex-Mex fare and the Mambo Taxi, a frozen margarita with a swirl of sangria. Signature items include the brisket tacos, Mama’s tacos, and the Rico salad that’s topped with sliced chicken fajitas. The Houston location will be the company’s 24th outpost, joining locations across Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma.
“I’m a very conservative guy when it comes to real estate,” Edgar Guevara, president and CEO of Mi Cocina parent company M Crowd Restaurant Group, tells CultureMap. “We’ll put our best foot forward. We’re working with Droese Raney to create a space that’s consistent with our contemporary Mexican approach and building it to fit the neighborhood.”
The Houston location will feature an expansive dining room and a dedicated, adults-only bar area. Mi Cocina has commissioned artist Luis Sottil to create a large, custom painting for the restaurant.
A rendering previews the new Mi Cocina.Courtesy of Mi Cocina
“We’ve started building upscale bars in these restaurants that are adults-only areas where people can enjoy Mambo Taxis. We started that with our Monkey Bar,” Guevara says. “River Oaks will have a big dining space for families. We’ll also have this upscale bar where adults can enjoy some light bites and premium drinks.”
Open for lunch and dinner daily, the restaurant expects to employ between 80 and 100 people. If all goes according to plan, Houstonians will be sipping Mambo Taxis by October.
Mi Cocina’s new location marks the company’s return to the Houston market. The company opened a location at Woodway and Voss in 2004 that’s now home to Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen. A location at the Woodlands Mall that closed in 2017 is now occupied by South African restaurant Mozambik.
Guevara, who joined the company almost six years ago, expresses optimism that this time Mi Cocina will stick in the Bayou City. He sees similarities between the River Oaks area the company selected and the restaurant’s successful restaurant in Dallas’s Highland Park neighborhood.
“I don’t know what happened with the past openings we had in Houston. I think when you’re going into a market you want to pick someplace that’s similar to where you operate,” Guevara says. “I happen to like the location we’re in. That’s why we landed there. It was data driven and then there were similarities to what we do in Dallas.”