TEJAS – Tex-Mex done sexy. I’m in.
This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is TEJAS at 250 N. Bishop at Ninth Street in Oak Cliff. Studio B just moved to the Bishop Arts District in June so we only heard about what Tejas used to be, which was apparently a counter service, fast casual Tex-Mex burger & fries place. By the time we got here, they had shut it down for a full Covid remodel which included a change in business model-from counter service to sit down casual Mexican cuisine. “Healthy Tex Mex” with bright fresh ingredients and craveable Tex-Mex favorites, vegan options and fresh-caught seafood.
The menu is exactly the right size. Four kinds of guacamole, deliciously velvety queso, ceviche, carne aside fries, a poblano soup and few salads to start. Complimentary with meals, the chips and salsa are delicious. I’m sure they are fresh fried chips with sea salt and the salsa – I can’t describe – but is thick and tasty – not too much tomato. Entrees include standards like enchiladas, tacos, flautas, quesadillas, fajitas and a couple of plates – all with something just a little special, i.e. homemade flour tortillas, tomatillo slaw, house smoked brisket (which is to die-for). You can also get Skinny Fajitas with cauliflower rice and “cute, delicious and oh so mini!” mini tacos. Great for sharing with the No sugar added Margarita selections. My first lunch visit included brisket & queso tacos with fresh flour tortillas. Amazing. So good, in fact, that I ordered take out for dinner which included chicken enchiladas with a yummy creamy sauce and the enchiladas poblanos, also excellent. Danny and I went to review this week and I got the skinny steak fajitas with cauliflower rice. The steak was flawless and the cauliflower rice was really really good. I make A LOT of cauliflower rice variations so I know this veggie but I don’t know how they made theirs. It was delicious and I will snoop around to see if I can replicate at home. Danny got the brisket and queso enchiladas which came with special “rice and beans.” I say special because the rice was notably delicious and the beans were like a little bowl of savory bean soup. They were true sides vs plate fillers. Danny gave the whole meal a double thumbs up. Oh – and the tea was delicious.
Branding DNA/Environmental Branding:
The brand comes from Exxir Capital led by Michael Nazerian who says “ Places are the canvas. Experiences are the glue.” Exxir is responsible for a large part of the development of Bishop Arts along with Good Spaces and Jim Lake Companies. The thing about Exxir though is their curation of the experiences with restaurants, apartments, offices and green spaces.* It’s been said that their design is Southern California and I would agree. Tejas is rich with design elements like custom tiles, loads of plants and planters, awesome pops of color and texture, cool furniture, quirky glassware and even the staff uniforms. I hate to call them uniforms because I think the rules are structured but loose, meaning dress for “this” vibe. The lunch and dinner bartenders were wearing different style black bolero hats. It wasn’t contrived. Somehow I think they just attract the right people for their brands and it seriously all works.
Tejas has a minimalist website that can be easily navigated and is all about their food. Their Instagram features beautiful candid food photography of their amazing dishes. Overall, their website and social work great together to drive consumers to their restaurant.
MJ’s Brand Opinion:
If you’ve followed our Friday Feed Reviews pre-Covid, you know I don’t gush over restaurants very often. It is rare that a brand is buttoned up in pretty much every category. Many times a restaurant will look great but the staff is just wrong or the operations are clunky. I’m guessing that Nazerian is a control freak about his design and his teams – it works. If there’s anything I think that is a little weak it would probably be website interface and their choice for the take out packaging. My two person take out order included 2 kraft handled bags, 3 kraft Champak containers and 5 styrofoam containers with lids. Since we’re packaging designers, we know how much money that adds to the bottom line and this is stock, unbranded packaging, so…it’s costly and not too eco friendly due to the shear volume of pieces. Unbranded Packaging aside – it’s a heart emoji for me.
*Exxir also owns Paradiso (review to come – second visit required), Botonist, Good Companions along with Bishop North apartments, Bishop Flats, Camp Bishop and more.
MJ and Danny give Tejas an A+ in all categories. Go.
Every Friday, Studio B Dallas visits a local fast casual concept for lunch to critique the brand (and eat lunch). Three rules apply: it’s a concept we haven’t been to or it’s been in the restaurant news and it’s within 10 miles of our office. Wait, four rules – it can’t be sushi. Danny doesn’t do sushi. If you have any suggestions on where we should eat next, feel free to leave it in the comments. Look for our restaurant branding reviews each Friday! MJ & Danny