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Eats Beat: Ageless Mexican Inn Cafe has new look, but old-school style

Posted 5:33pm on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

(Updated to correct opening date of the Henderson Street and Eighth Avenue locations.)

Just when you think Mexican Inn Cafe could never surprise you, it does.

The newest location in the local Tex-Mex restaurant chain has a huge menu, new dishes, an all-weather patio and a completely different look and feel from the older locations.

But one thing hasn’t changed: the chips.

Mexican Inn’s chips are small, puffy corn strips, like homemade Fritos.

If founder and legendary gambler Tiffin Hall ever told the history of his chip recipe, I’ve never seen it.

But his first Mexican Inn Cafe opened downtown in 1936, only four years after Mexican immigrant Gustavo Olguin sold a San Antonio investor his recipe for what became the Frito.

The combo plates are bigger now, with slightly higher prices. But a plate with three enchiladas and a taco or tamal still goes for less than $12.

The new menu adds smoked brisket tacos, enchiladas and burritos from Mexican Inn owner Chris Carroll’s other concept, Spring Creek Barbeque.

The new Mexican Inn is open for lunch and dinner daily at 5017 S. Hulen St., 817-346-7815; mexicaninncafe.com.

The four Fort Worth Inns include the 65-year-old No. 2 location at 612 N. Henderson St., where country singer Ernest Tubb stopped his tour bus for enchilada dinners, and a 66-year-old building at 1625 Eighth Ave. inherited from another early Tex-Mex restaurant.

Other locations are in Bedford, Burleson, Lake Worth and Mansfield.

A new location will be added next year in Keller next door to Spring Creek, Carroll said.

A new Tokyo

Tokyo Cafe, a west Fort Worth sushi landmark damaged in a June fire, will be demolished and rebuilt, owner Mary Kha-Ho confirmed this week.

The Ho family bought the 1971-vintage former Pizza Hut in 1997 after several other restaurants opened and closed.

Jarry Ho and Mary Kha-Ho also own Shinjuku Station in south Fort Worth and plan an Asian fusion restaurant near South Jennings Avenue. They have hosted one pop-up dinner at Shinjuku with Tokyo Cafe’s menu.

A second Bite

Bite City Grill, making a fast reputation for clever cocktails, is set to expand.

Chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin will open a Thai restaurant somewhere nearby in the Cultural District, he said this week through a spokeswoman.

Thretipthuangsin was the chef at Pakpao in Dallas before coming to Bite City, thriving with an American grill menu from his former restaurant in the Hamptons area of Long Island.

Bite City is at 2600 W. Seventh St., on the back of Montgomery Plaza near Carroll Street; 817-877-3888, bitecitygrill.com.

Coming soon

East Hampton Sandwich Co., a much-awarded Dallas sandwich chain, now reports an opening by early September at 1605 S. University Drive, near the new WestBend shops; ehsandwich.com.

Bud Kennedy’s column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com. 817-390-7538 Twitter: @EatsBeat Facebook: Bud Kennedy’s Eats Beat Get alerts at RebelMouse.com/eats.

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