Here's some spicy news for area Tex-Mex lovers.
Houston restaurateur Domenic Laurenzo is planning to open Laurenzo’s El Tiempo Cantina at 20237 Interstate 45 in Webster. (After renovations, the eatery will open in the former site of Big Ben Tavern).
Laurenzo is the grandson of Maria Ninfa Rodriguez Laurenzo, also known as “Mama Ninfa.”
Ninfa’s Restaurants became one of the most well-known Mexican restaurant chains in Texas and are credited with launching the fajita movement in Houston. The Webster restaurant will mark Domenic Laurenzo’s sixth El Tiempo Cantina.
El Tiempo Cantina has differentiated itself from Ninfa’s by using different meat marinades and rices and offering different dishes. And the price points are higher.
In June, El Tiempo made it on Houston Chronicle food critic Allison Cook’s Top 100 Restaurants list, landing at No. 52.
Here’s what Cook had to say:
“Only the very steep prices keep this fajita-and-mixed-grill stalwart, owned by the Laurenzo family of once-upon-a-Ninfa’s fame, from placing higher on the list. But it’s well worth an occasional splurge for the most sumptuous parillada experience in the city, in which the wood-grilled meats and shellfish arrive on fetching tabletop charcoal cookers. The salsas and sides show the Laurenzo stamp of excellence. The frozen margaritas are lethal … .”
When I worked for the Houston Business Journal in the late 1990s, I wrote about the opening of Domenic Laurenzo’s first El Tiempo Cantina.
I ate there several times and the memory of good meals still stick with me today.
Have you tried El Tiempo? Do you plan to?