Galleria-area diners will soon be feasting on fajitas and drinking Ninfaritas. The Original Ninfa’s Uptown Houston will open June 10, owner Legacy Restaurants announced.
Most Houstonians need little introduction to Ninfa’s. Founded in 1973 by “Mama Ninfa” Laurenzo, the restaurant is credited with turning fajitas — tacos al carbon served on a sizzling comal alongside flour tortillas — into a global phenomenon. In a city obsessed with Tex-Mex, it remains a vital member of the culinary community, as demonstrated by its James Beard Award semifinalist nominationfor Outstanding Restaurant earlier this year.
Although other, licensed Ninfa’s locations continue to operate in Houston and points beyond, the Uptown restaurant is the first expansion owned by Legacy and overseen by its corporate executive chef Alex Padilla.
Located in the former Peska space at the BLVD Place mixed-use development, Legacy worked with Austin architect Michael Hsu and Houston’s Studio Red Architects to recreate the look of the original Ninfa’s location on Navigation. That means a tortilla station at the entrance and photographs of founder Ninfa Lorenzo on the walls, among other design elements. All told, the restaurant will seat 280 people, including a 50-seat private dining room.
Similarly, the menu at the new location matches the original, and the prices will be the same, too. The addition of both a wood-burning oven and a wood-burning grill means that the flavors of Padilla’s recipes should be the same, too. Chef Jason Gould (Cyclone Anaya’s, Gravitas) will oversee the kitchen, while general manager Ashley Clark will run the dining room. Ninfa’s Uptown will be open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Plans include the possibility of weekday breakfast service.
Legacy recruited beverage consultant Linda Salinas (Jonathan’s the Rub at Memorial Green, Hungry’s) to create new cocktails that will join the classic Ninfarita as drink options. For now, Salinas’ creations are exclusive to the Uptown location, but they’ll make their way to Navigation, too.
For a city obsessed with Tex-Mex, the Galleria area offers relatively few options. Expect Ninfa’s to be busy from day one.
The Original Ninfa’s Uptown; 1700 Post Oak Blvd.; Monday-Thursday from 11 am to 10 pm, Friday 11 am to 11 pm, Saturday 10 am to 11 pm, Sunday 10 am to 10 pm.