Beloved Tex-Mex restaurant Mercado Juarez has surprising new Fort Worth owner
A longtime Tex-Mex favorite in Fort Worth has a surprising new boss: Mercado Juarez Cafe, which has been doing classic Tex-Mex for nearly 30 years, was sold by owner Dave Cox to Fort Worth restaurateur Marcus Paslay and his team.
According to a release, Cox was ready to retire and wanted to make sure the restaurants and land would be purchased by a restaurant group who would love and respect the institution and its staff. Enter Marcus Paslay, whose From Scratch Hospitality company oversees Fort Worth favorites such as Clay Pigeon, Piattello, and Provender Hall.
Jeffrey Yarbrough and Aaron Evans of bigInk Commercial Real Estate, along with Capital Title and Denney Law Group, closed the deal between Paslay and Cox, president of Mercado Juarez Cafe, on April 2.
"This decision came as a strategic plan to retire and enjoy our lives while we’re still young," Cox says in a statement. "We are leaving the Mercado Juarez legacy in more than capable hands with Marcus Paslay and his team of excellent operators who respect what Don Bowden started more than 35 years ago. Jeffrey’s extensive knowledge of the Fort Worth retail landscape and years of hospitality experience helped us make the final decision to work with bigInk Real Estate."
Mercado Juarez was founded in 1982 by Don Bowden and was later purchased by Dave Cox in 2005. There are two locations, one at 125 E. I-20 in Arlington and one at 1651 E. Northside Dr. in Fort Worth. Between both restaurants, there are 120 employees. They also once had a location in Dallas on Northwest Highway but that closed in 2018.
They've received several awards including “Best Carne Guisada” by Dallas Morning News and "Best Carne Asada" by Fort Worth Weekly, and frequently win "Readers Choice" awards for Best Mexican and Best Tex-Mex.
Specials include their spicy habanero queso dip with cilantro & ground beef, and the taco salad with chicken. Unique dishes include smothered beef tips guiso de res in spicy gravy with chipotle peppers and onions, shrimp Cozumel, and steak divorciado, but they have no shortage of traditional Tex-Mex including fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, and burritos.
Yarbrough recently partnered with chefs Patrick Ru and Stefon Rishel on an exciting new dumpling spot opening in the Near Southside called Teddy Wong's Dumplings & Wine, a Chinese restaurant that will open in the space previously occupied by Le's Wok Asian Food, slated to open in May.
In 2007, after several years of running a successful agency, bigInk PR, Yarbrough expanded his company, bigInk, to include Real Estate services to support growing restaurant companies and real estate developers. In 2022, he moved bigInk Real Estate to Fort Worth.