Firebird Restaurant Group, which owns El Fenix, Snuffers, Taqueria La Ventana, and Meso Maya just added Tortaco to their line-up last October 2016.
With three current Dallas locations of their upscale Meso Maya brand, (one in downtown Dallas, one on Preston and now on also in Lakewood) the two upcoming Meso Maya locations in Fort Worth have been slowly taking shape.
The first one to open will be in Trinity Commons on Hulen Street, with Chef Justin Steed running the kitchen, who says it will be opening on May 1.
“You can expect a modern interior that is both cozy and inviting, where guests can enjoy our hospitality.” says General Manager Fabian Martinez. A Fort Worth resident, who grew up in the Arlington Heights neighborhood and graduated from Texas Christain University, Martinez is excited to introduce the restaurant to his hometown. “At Firebird we like to participate in the community. I know everyone says that, but it really is part of our corporate culture,” he says.
Meso Maya features an authentic menu crafted by Chef Nico Sanchez, who is the creative force behind most of Firebird’s menus. Guests will enjoy the “fresh, bold and earthy flavors of authentic interior Mexico” with a menu inspired by natural ingredients like scratch moles, adobos, salsas, and hand-ground tortillas.
Sanchez honed his skills at several restaurants throughout his native Mexico, in states such as Veracruz, where he learned about seafood, dried chilies, and making sauces from scratch, and also in Oaxaca, where he perfected tamale-making techniques.
One example from their authentic menu is the Mole Poblano. The chocolate used in their mole is made from specialty cocoa beans which are ground in house, shredded adobo chicken breast, caramelized onions, cilantro, roasted poblano peppers and Monterrey jack cheese are wrapped in blue corn tortillas and topped with mole poblano, served with black beans and rice.
Meso Maya is also known for its hand-crafted margaritas such as the popular Avocado Margarita; the restaurants offer over 40 sipping tequilas as well.
Brunch is another big draw (served Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), having garnered accolades for Best Brunch by D Magazine’s Reader’s Choice 2016.
Up next, will be a Meso Mayo location in Plano and then, finally, the one set in downtown Fort Worth’s Kress Building.
The Kress Building (which was built by S.H. Kress Co. in 1936) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. Mike Karns, CEO and owner of Firebird Restaurant Group, purchased the site in March 2015 for $5.4 million through its affiliated real estate company, Triton Commercial Real Estate.
After announcing, in October 2015, that a Meso Maya was heading to that 604 Main Street address, Karns quickly turned his attention to developing an entirely new brand, called Tortaco, which opened in West Seventh in October 2016, quickly followed by a downtown Dallas Tortaco on Ross Ave.
The downtown Fort Worth location will ultimately be a two story Meso Maya model, but the more involved process of renovating a historic building has been a lengthier project by comparison to other Firebird expansions. At this stage, the Kress Building is currently still an empty space, but plans are to have it ready to unveil by the fall of 2017.