Thursday marks an important day in the rich culinary history of Texas, the 100th birthday of the nation’s oldest Tex-Mex restaurant chain – El Fenix.
In 1918, the Martinez family opened the first El Fenix in Dallas and now it stands as a cornerstone of Tex-Mex cuisine. In 2008, the family sold its 15 restaurants.
For 94-year-old Alfred Martinez, the son of the founder Miguel Martinez, the business is marked with memories as flavorful as the food. For the millions who have eaten in the chain over the past 100 years, it is more than just a restaurant; it’s a North Texas institution.
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“We have customers who have been coming here for years and years and their kids grow up and they grow up and get old and pass away and their kids and family still come here,” Martinez said.
With $7,000 and a huge dream, his father Miguel bought the land and opened the Mexican restaurant that created Tex-Mex cuisine and changed the culinary world as we know it.
Dallas City Council voted to rename a portion of Alamo Street near the restaurant. It will now be called Miguel Martinez Way in honor of the man who started it all.