Los Tios Opens Flagship Location in Tanglewood
Starting this week, Tanglewood residents can have their fix of “puffy queso” in their own neighborhood, as Los Tios opens the doors of its newest location at 5161 San Felipe Street.
Located in the same plaza as its sister restaurant, Adair Kitchen, the new outpost of the 49-year-old Tex-Mex establishment represents a reimagining of the original Los Tios brand. Although the menu includes the staples from the first Los Tios on Beechnut Street - such as combination platters, signature margaritas and puffy queso - it also includes new items and an elevated décor.
“I think people are pleased that we haven’t changed so much that it’s unrecognizable to the Los Tios brand, but I think they are happy to see that it’s a younger take on an old classic,” said Katie Adair Barnhart, who led the development with her brother Nick Adair and father Gary Adair.
The Adair family purchased Los Tios Mexican Restaurants in 2000, adding to their growing repertoire of Houston restaurants. Their restaurant group “Adair Concepts,” now also includes Skeeter’s Mesquite Grill, Eloise Nichols Grill + Liquors and Betsy’s at Evelyn’s Park.
The family made few changes to Los Tios when they first acquired it, so Monday’s opening marks a significant move. “This was an opportunity to get some new blood in the brand and kind of start on a fresh page with the new location,” Katie said.
The restaurant held a soft opening for friends and family on Friday, Aug. 23 and Saturday, Aug. 24, and it officially opened to the public on Monday, Aug. 26. A new option on the menu that is already proving popular is the lunch special. For $9.95, guests can choose two items they select from a list that includes classics such as the cheese enchilada, fajita taco, crispy taco, guacamole salad and puffy queso in addition to rice and beans.
“I would say about 60 percent of the items we sold today were the lunch specials,” Adair Concepts’ Culinary Director Roberto Ozaeta said on Monday afternoon. “It’s the perfect meal for anyone who works in the area. We make these plates in less than six minutes.”
Other new menu items include the “extra fixins” available for the fajitas, from Grilled Texas Quail to Lobster Tail to Jalapeño Sausage. Also new are several seafood options, such as the Red Fish on the Half Shell – Grilled Texas Redfish served on grilled veggies with garlic butter.
Although Roberto said he is proud of the new menu, it’s really the original items and the company’s commitment to consistency that he thinks makes it a unique spot in Houston.
“For 49 years, it’s the same food,” he said. “The nachos are the same, the queso is the same, the margaritas are the same. And then the other thing, it’s the people we have. We have people who have been making those puffy quesos for more than 20 years for this company. The lady who makes the guacamole has been doing this for 24 years. At every store, we have people who have been working here a long time. Without them, we can’t do any of this.”
Opening day patrons seem to agree that it’s the consistency of the food that keeps them coming back.
“The buildout is awesome, and it’s a great atmosphere and the food is consistent and great quality, always,” said guest Peter Selber.
Editor’s Note: Los Tios San Felipe is open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m-10 p.m. A special happy hour menu is available Monday-Friday from 3-7 p.m.
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