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Save the nachos! The Original Mexican Restaurant in Fort Worth wins 3-month reprieve

The Original Mexican Eats Cafe and its property owner have agreed to a 3-month delay to keep the 93-year-old restaurant in place for now, The Original announced Wednesday on Facebook.

The restaurant posted: “Well friends, we’ve been waiting for our Knight in shining armor, and He has ARRIVED!”

The Original, 4713 Camp Bowie Blvd., was scheduled to close Friday night and combine with a second location, 1400 N. Main St.

The Camp Bowie lease had been declared invalid in a long-running and bitter court dispute with the property owners, descendants of the Muzquiz family that owned the building along with a long-gone TV-radio shop next door.

A faded sign on the back of The Original Mexican Restaurant in Fort Worth March 25, 2023.
A faded sign on the back of The Original Mexican Restaurant in Fort Worth March 25, 2023.

“We just secured a 3 month extension!” the restaurant posted. “Hopefully this will lead to a permanent stay!”

The restaurant posted that it would remain on Camp Bowie through the end of June. (A 90-day delay would end June 30.)

The Original, founded in 1930, is one of Texas’ oldest Tex-Mex restaurants.

A 2021 appeals court decision voided the current lease signed 20 years ago. Owner Robert Self and the Muzquiz family had been unable to reach a new agreement..

The back door at The Original Mexican Eats Cafe in Fort Worth March 25, 2023.
The back door at The Original Mexican Eats Cafe in Fort Worth March 25, 2023.

The long-standing lease signed in 2003 by the late Leticia Grimaldo, owner of the small strip shopping center in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, was ruled legally invalid by the 8th Texas Court of Appeals in El Paso.

The restaurant is nationally known for chili-covered, retro Tex-Mex and its “Roosevelt Special” platter, named for presidential son Elliott Roosevelt, a former Fort Worth and Benbrook resident.

The combination plate was Roosevelt’s favorite in the 1930s when he lived on a ranch near Benbrook and often hosted his parents, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Other restaurants in Houston and New York have served similar Tex-Mex menus, one even including a “Roosevelt Special.”

Puffy tacos are on the menu at The Original Mexican Eats Cafe in Fort Worth.
Puffy tacos are on the menu at The Original Mexican Eats Cafe in Fort Worth.

Restaurant founders Lola San Miguel Piñeda from Múzquiz, Mexico, and her husband, former Spanish soldier Gerónimo Piñeda of Barcelona, moved here via Laredo and Waco and opened The Original in 1930, according to Star-Telegram archives and census records. (Self has cited a 1926 opening date.)

In a 1932 clipping, Piñeda described the combination “No. 1” plate: “tacos, Mexican rice, chile con queso, Spanish salad, toasted tortillas, Mexican candy [a praline] and a bottle of ice cold Pearl beer” — 50 cents.

Broccoli enchiladas and a margarita at the Original Mexican Eats Cafe in Fort Worth.
Broccoli enchiladas and a margarita at the Original Mexican Eats Cafe in Fort Worth.