A longtime Mexican restaurant from East Dallas is spawning a spin-off: Margarita's Restaurant, known for its authentic Mexican food including tortillas made in house, will open a second location in Oak Cliff in early 2018.
The original Margarita's is at 2414 Fitzhugh Ave., in a modest building near the corner of Capitol Avenue, where it has been serving a particularly homey rendition of Mexican food for more than 30 years.
There is caldo de res, menudo, and flautas, with a crisp corn shell enclosing a filling of beef, chicken, or cheese, served with rice, beans, guacamole, sour cream, and lettuce.
Natives of Mexico describe it as the kind of authentic food your grandmother might make, and prices are cheap.
There are unique dishes such as calabacitas rellenas de queso — squash stuffed with mozzarella cheese, served with steak, rice, and beans. There are special dishes marking holidays such as Lent, when they do shrimp cakes in red sauce with nopales.
Owner Mohamed Dossani took over Margarita's about eight years ago, and recently gave the Fitzhugh location a makeover. The interior is nothing fancy, with mariachi music, a jukebox, and a novela on the television. English is a second language here, but the staff is kind and accommodating.
The Oak Cliff location will go into the building at 423 W. Jefferson Blvd., previously home to 29 Pieces, the art nonprofit, which recently moved out.
"Jefferson Boulevard is like Fitzhugh, with a neighborhood that has many Hispanic people but is also mixed," Dossani says.
For decades a Mexican neighborhood, the landscape around the original Margarita's on Fitzhugh is changing, with a new CVS on the corner and countless rows of apartment buildings looming everywhere.
While Margarita's serves mostly Mex, not Tex-Mex, there are concessions, including tacos, chips and salsa, and fajitas. There are horchatas and Mexican Coke, plus a full bar with beer, wine, and margaritas. And there is breakfast, served all day. Repeat: breakfast served all day.