If you've been around Dallas Tex-Mex for any amount of time, then you know the name Eddie Cervantes. He was the original owner of Primo's on McKinney Avenue, and has a devout following dating back to those days. Sufficiently devoted that when he opened E-Bar Tex Mex, a cozy restaurant in East Dallas, his fans followed.
Now they'll be able to follow him to Greenville Avenue, where he's debuting a new E-Bar spinoff. Called Eddie's Tex-Mex Cocina, it'll go into the old Tacos Mariachi space at 2018 Greenville Ave.; Cervantes says it'll open in late spring.
"I've always liked Greenville Avenue," he says. "I remember it went through some difficult times but since they've reworked the area, I see a big change and feel like it's a good place to be."
Cervantes first opened Primo's in 1981, long before Uptown became Uptown, and drew crowds with the lure of cheap margaritas, reliable Tex-Mex, and late hours. Primo's was also a favorite destination for the service industry, with up-and-coming chefs dropping in after their shifts. Eddie was the congenial host and made many fast friends.
He sold Primo's in 2008, but returned to Tex-Mex in 2013 when he opened E-Bar in an unlikely spot on Haskell Avenue near Munger. Even after eight years, the restaurant feels like both a reunion and a hidden find. With 42 seats inside and 44 on patio, it's also usually full.
E-Bar's menu features the quintessential enchiladas, nachos, and tacos, with queso good enough that it won the Best Queso category in CultureMap's 2020 Tastemaker Awards.
The menu at his new spinoff Eddie's will be the same but with a few items exclusive to Greenville Avenue.
"It'll be the same Tex-Mex I've been known for but we'll expand on that a little bit," he says. "We're going to be making homemade corn tortillas so it'll be different in that respect."
"We're going to add a nice piece of meat for people who want a steak," he says. "Not quite Bob's Steak & Chop House but something we can make good and tasty using our spices. And maybe a piece of fish. It's an opportunity to play a little with the menu and see what works."
They'll also be open early for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, with frozen bellinis on the weekends, another something new.
HQI Contractors starts construction on March 8. Everyone is looking forward to spring patio weather in a space that Cervantes says will be "comfortable and casual, but nice."
Perhaps the biggest thing about the restaurant is the name, in which the modest Cervantes comes to terms with his legacy.
"I always fought using my name," he says. "But we're calling it Eddie's Tex-Mex Cocina. At my age, I decided it was time to just go ahead and use my name."