Apheleia Restaurant Group opened the doors to a new location of its Mexican restaurant El Bolero on Fitzhugh Avenue on Monday. Just down the street from ZaLat Pizza and El Come Taco, the new location will be the first in the restaurant group’s portfolio to include an upstairs and downstairs, as well as a patio, which will have its fire pit delivered within days of this posting.
It’s a sign of the group responding to the patterns of a neighborhood. The Fitzhugh location will be the only one (the group is opening a third El Bolero in Fort Worth slated for early 2019) to offer breakfast, with pan dulce, hibiscus blossom yogurt parfait, chilaquiles burritos, grab-and-go breakfast tacos, or the possibility of sipping Mexican hot chocolate or café de olla while tapping into WiFi at the counter. (Yes, they’re surrounded by apartments.) It will also be the only spot to sport a late-night offering, 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. (Think flank-steak fries, street tacos, elotes, quesadillas, and what they’re calling the Sonoran hotdog, with bacon, avocado, crema, and pico.)
Overall, the menu has been revamped by concept chef José Salmeron, who joined the team earlier this year. He’s adding height to the dishes on the dinner menu, switching up brunch, and making enchiladas more build-your-own.
Those who loved the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera murals in the Design District will find Pancho Villa here, and a poppy, lounge-y, avant-garde look upstairs via bejeweled wallpaper and a light fixture made of Petron vodka bottles. The bar has the same canary-yellow stools and splashy atmosphere.
ARG’s other restaurants include Oak, Pakpao, and the recently opened Merchant House. It’s a bit of a growth spurt for a group that’s tended to be more focused on redesign and re-concepting of late. That fire pit—that’s what I’m waiting for.