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Tex-Mex Icon Ninfa’s Locked Out of Uptown Location in Landlord Dispute

The restaurant continued to operate as normal until its owners say the building’s landlord locked the doors

A taco, cheese-covered enchilada, beans, and rice, on a white plate. Guacamole, sour cream, and other condiments sit in a white bowl to the left. The Original Ninfa’s/Facebook

The Uptown location of the Original Ninfa’s was locked out of its space at BLVD Place earlier this week in the midst of a dispute between the restaurant’s owners and its landlords.

In a press release, Legacy Restaurants owner Niel Morgan says that negotiations on the lease were underway between the company and Whitestone REIT, its landlord on the space at 1700 Post Oak Boulevard, but fell apart when staff arrived at the restaurant on Tuesday to find locked doors. It’s a pretty rough time for a lockout, considering that the COVID-19 pandemic has cratered business at local restaurants.

“We have been negotiating in good faith for some time, and Ninfa’s was not requesting any rent forgiveness,” Morgan said in a statement. “On Friday, we were informed that our proposed deferral and payment plan was acceptable subject to resolving one remaining issue, so we believed we were making progress.”

Speaking with CultureMap, Whitestone’s CEO disputed Morgan’s version of the events, claiming that the restaurant has not paid any rent on the Uptown location since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced restaurants across the state to close their dining rooms. Ninfa’s has been open at BLVD Place since June 2019.

Due to the lockout, the Original Ninfa’s in Uptown remains closed. Stay tuned for more details on when it will reopen.

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