El Fenix may be turning 100 this year in Dallas, but boy, has the restaurant stayed current. In August 2018, as part of its year-long centenarian fiesta, all El Fenix restaurants will debut a new margarita featuring Topo Chico and a chile-lime rim made with the Mexican seasoning Tajín.
The Topo Chico, a calorie-free sparkling water that originated in Mexico, offers playful effervescence, not to mention some hipster street cred. Seriously, if El Fenix were a person, he'd be a 100-year-old guy dancing in gold Nikes at his birthday parties.
The real man behind the brand is Miguel "Mike" Martinez, an immigrant from Mexico who launched the company in 1918. In a story about Dallas' colorful past with El Fenix, Dallas Morning News business reporter Cheryl Hall wrote "El Fenix is more than a place to eat. It's part of Dallas' psyche."
And Dallas chef Dean Fearing called eating at El Fenix "like going to Tex-Mex school." His cooking, which incorporates chiles with modern Texas and Southwestern flair, takes inspiration from Tex-Mex.
El Fenix has since grown to two-dozen restaurants in D-FW and is now owned by Firebird Restaurant Group, LLP, which operates Dallas burger chain Snuffer's Restaurant and Bar.
But we're here to talk about that margarita. El Fenix's newbie is called Marg-Nitos (the combination of margarita and Hornitos, the tequila used in the drink). Marg-Nitos is made with Hornitos Plata Tequila, triple sec, orange juice, lime juice and a splash of Topo Chico, garnished with a lime wedge and chile-lime salt.
This drink was one of five finalists in a January 2018 contest hosted by El Fenix where customers were asked to submit their favorite margarita recipe. Your friends at GuideLive were the esteemed judges! We tasted five margaritas on Feb. 22, National Margarita Day, and chose Oak Cliff resident Lisa Martel's Marg-Nitos drink as the winner.
The margarita will be priced at $6.99 and will be served at all El Fenix restaurants during the month of August.
The four finalists -- which will not appear on an El Fenix menu, but might be fun to experiment with at home -- were: a watermelon-strawberry margarita; jalapeno-mango one; a frozen, orange-flavored marg; and a cocktail with pink lemonade and lime juice.
Thanks to GuideLive tasters Sara Burgos, Dawn M. Burkes, Norma Cavazos, Kiley Faulkner, Kim Oglethorpe, Britton Peele and Shannon Sutlief.