Meso Maya to the West

El Fenix owner doubles down on Fort Worth with new Mexican restaurant

El Fenix owner doubles down on Fort Worth with new restaurant

Meso Maya
Upscale Mexican restaurant Meso Maya will open in Fort Worth. Photo courtesy of Meso Maya

Firebird Restaurant Group, which operates El Fenix and Snuffer's Restaurant & Bar, will open two restaurants in Fort Worth in early 2016. Both will be upscale Mexican concepts, and one is going into a historic building.

Meso Maya is an upscale Mexican restaurant with two branches in Dallas, at Preston Forest Shopping Center in North Dallas and another near downtown. This branch will be the third, but the first in Fort Worth, opening at 604 Main St., in the old Kress Building.

The Kress Building was built in 1936 for the S.H. Kress Co. department store chain. It stayed open until 1960. Continental National Bank used the upper three floors for a decade until the early 1980s. Those floors reopened in 2006 as 24 loft apartments.

The Kress Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. Like many stores that Kress built, it's an exceptionally pretty building, and it previously housed a Fox & Hound pub. Firebird owner Mike Karns purchased the site in March 2015 and is doing a renovation.

It will be a two-story restaurant, with dinner and lunch, and a menu created by chef Nico Sanchez with moles, adobos, salsas, and hand-ground tortillas.

Tortaco is the previously reported casual restaurant with a chef-driven menu, also developed by chef Nico Sanchez, and a full bar with signature cocktails.

A staffer familiar with the Tortaco project said that it would be a new concept entirely different from Karns' other restaurants, with a hybrid mode of service: self-serve during the day and full-service for dinner. The menu will be a step up from Taqueria La Ventana, Firebird's other concept, with tacos and more.

Darius Gilanfar, COO of Firebird Restaurant Group, says in a release that the company is on a "careful but aggressive expansion mode" with its four existing brands, along with new concepts and acquisitions.