Fresh Mex

Don't expect the same old Mex at this new restaurant in Fort Worth

Don't expect the same old Mex at this new restaurant in Fort Worth

Things are fresh and different at Zaritas Mexican Grill. Photo courtesy of Zaritas

A new family-owned Mexican restaurant picks up where another left off, but with a fresh approach and some truly original dishes. Zaritas Mexican Grill is now open in far north Fort Worth, at 5250 N. Tarrant Pkwy., in what used to be an unspectacular Mexican restaurant called Las Piñatas.

Zaritas comes from husband and wife Hugo and Danielle Guadalupe, who have worked for many years as cooks at other restaurants before deciding to open their own place.

They're taking a couple of steps that set them apart, including emphasizing the freshness of their ingredients. Fresh and clean eating is an important part of their mission, including eating "real" foods that are as close to their natural form as possible.

They're also doing some wholly original items that fuse Mexican flavors with dishes from other countries. One prototypical offering is their twist on fajitas which they serve skewered, in a kebab form.

"We didn't want to do the same fajitas everyone does, and I love kebabs," says Danielle. "We're definitely not doing traditional Mexican food, but it's in the spirit of Mexican food, with Mexican spices and salsas."

Their list of appetizers is full of intrigue. There are the "carne asada fries," like a Mexican version of poutine, with French fries topped with carne asada meat. Their rendition of elotes, the street dish featuring corn on the cob, is reminiscent of a Thai dish called corn fritters.

"The corn is fried in a batter, and then topped with mayonnaise," Danielle says. "It has all the flavors of elotes but done in a different way."

There are fried chicken wings served with chipotle sauce, and chicken with authentic mole, with recipes culled from her husband's family, including his mom. "We're definitely a family restaurant," says Danielle.

They also do tacos, in four varieties: chicken, pork, steak, and shrimp, which Danielle says are a specialty. On Tuesdays, they host a taco night where the tacos are $1. Unsurprisingly, it's become a popular event since they opened in July. They have a full bar, with margaritas, frozen and on the rocks.

"We just wanted to open our own place and have our own ideas," she says.