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The Closure of Iconic Houston Tex-Mex Restaurant Spanish Village Is Bittersweet

After 70 years, the Third Ward mainstay will serve its last margarita on March 31

The exterior of Spanish Village on Almeda.
Spanish Village has been a mainstay on Almeda for 70 years.
Kirsten Gilliam

The announcement that iconic Houston Tex-Mex restaurant Spanish Village is permanently closing its doors is a bittersweet one. The Third Ward stalwart, which opened in 1953 by the Medina family, changed ownership in the last few years eventually landing with Abhi Sreerama and Ishita Chakravarty in 2018 who announced they were closing it in the summer of 2021. Shortly after, Houston entrepreneur Steve Rogers swooped in and assumed operations, seeing the restaurant through to its 70th year in business.

Today, Rogers announced Spanish Village will close permanently on Friday, March 31, after having reached its milestone anniversary.

“There’s absolutely no arguing the impact Spanish Village has had on the Third Ward. The Medina family built something incredible, and I have been honored to be able to continue that,” says Rogers. “Despite the restaurant closing, it’s important to me and to the community to honor that legacy.”

A platter of enchiladas surrounded by chips, a margarita, Chile con queso, and guacamole.
The el clasico enchiladas are a Spanish Village house favorite.
Kirsten Gilliam

For decades, Spanish Village drew in diners from near and far for its traditional menu of Tex-Mex staples and eclectic atmosphere. The margaritas garnered a cult following, lauded for being made from real lime juice a week in advance, in order to let the ingredients fully incorporate, using a recipe that was passed down for generations. Among comfort eats like el clasico enchiladas, house-marinated fajitas, and doughy sopapillas, guests had their favorites and returned time and time again to indulge. The restaurant’s walls, decorated from floor to ceiling with Polaroids of cheery guests over the years, were proof of that.

Rogers promises that the legacy of the time-honored restaurant will live on in an upcoming project he has planned for the neighborhood. Along with the building which houses Spanish Village, Rogers is partaking in the development of the neighboring 8,000 square-foot property. The ambitious businessman has been focused on the development of the area for the last year, even calling on Third Ward residents to offer feedback on what they think their community needs.

A wall of hundreds of Polaroid photos at Spanish Village.
The walls at Spanish Village are decorated with photos of diners throughout the years.
Kirsten Gilliam

Last year, he enlisted the help of Localist, a company that aids in bridging the gap between business owners and residents of a community, with targeted campaigns. In the now-completed campaign, responses were accepted by the general public by way of large signs posted to the fences of Rogers’ properties, which read “What Should Go Here?” A QR code on the signs could be scanned, and anyone could offer their suggestions. In addition to receiving responses like “diner” or “family-friendly breakfast/brunch restaurant”, Rogers received comments like “Please respect the small town feel of the street... “

“It’s been really special to read the responses and see how invested this community is in the character of the neighborhood. The Third Ward has its own personality that’s hard to understand unless you’re in it, and with the help of my neighbors, I’m excited to begin this new chapter with a project that will benefit them,” Rogers shares.

As Spanish Village winds down, ceasing operations at the end of the business day on Friday, March 31, Rogers is gearing up for a major construction project, kicking off a new era for the historic pocket of Third Ward on Almeda Road.

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