As any warm-blooded Houstonian will tell you — the city can never have too many Tex-Mex restaurants, and it’s about to be one more richer with the opening of Mandito’s, from the Palacios Murphy Hospitality Group (Armandos, Lulu’s). The veteran restaurant group, operated by husband-and-wife team Armando and Cinda Palacios, announced its well-frequented Tex-Mex restaurant — open in Round Top since 2017 — will open its first Houston outpost on Thursday, April 13 at 5101 Bellaire Blvd in the Southwest Houston suburb.
The name is a nod to the affectionate childhood nickname given to Armando by his parents, and the restaurant honors his heritage, which is rooted in both Mexican and Texas cultures. For Houstonians who have journeyed the 100-mile trek west to visit Round Top for its original antiques fair, the concept may be familiar, but for those who have not, there is plenty to look forward to. Mandito’s is known for serving up a well-executed menu of Tex-Mex staples, made from scratch daily, in a casual setting. Along with cheese enchiladas and fajitas, the restaurant has a “World-Famous Burrito Bowl” and plant-based choices like crispy tacos made with Beyond Beef protein.
A true Tex-Mex experience can hardly be spoken of without mentioning margaritas and such, and Mandito’s has an impressive agave spirits program in place for those who wish to imbibe. Eighteen different tequilas from the Los Altos and El Valle regions of Mexico will be featured, alongside sotol from Chihuahua and Durango, and raicilla, bacanora, and mezcals from six different states, resulting in a robust menu of margaritas and original cocktails. Picky drinkers will surely gravitate towards the “Make it a Margarita” option, which lets them customize their bev with any agave spirit or sotol on the menu, and choosing one of five salts, like black lava salt, tajin, or sal de gusano.
Frozen margs will also be available, with a seasonal offering rotating on and off the menu every two months. During the opening, the frozen of the moment will be “the Bluebonnet”, honoring Texas’ bluebonnet season, crafted with butterfly pea flower-infused Agavales Tequila Blanc, lavender syrup, and fresh lime juice.
As active participants in the creating of their concepts, the Palacios’ had a hand in designing the vibrant, 165-seat restaurant, working in collaboration with New York-based architect Rocco DiLeo. The result is an attractive space splashed with bright colors, clashing patterns, and an old-meets-new world aesthetic. Custom prints by graphic designer and artist Sarah Shoemake decorate the walls, while turquoise straw light fixtures, handmade in Mexico, dot the ceiling. Along with a 16-seat bar and a sea of color-blocked booths, Mandito’s features a 42-seat, temperature-controlled patio. A standout feature within the restaurant, which is sure to draw attention from all guests who pass through, is a state-of-the-art BE&SCO press and oven, which is able to produce 900 tortillas per hour.
Houstonians looking to see how many tortillas they can get through in one visit may do so when the restaurant opens for daily lunch and dinner service on Thursday, April 13.