Botanist opened several weeks ago. Paradiso opened two days ago. And now, down the block, on a bourgeoning corner of Bishop Arts, the third in the Exxir Group’s quartet of hospitality ventures is open.
The taco-and-burger joint, called Tejas, offers a cheerful embrace of all things Texan. Big, colorful maps of Texas and signs with statements like “Everything’s Better in Tejas,” and“Every Texan, ever,” decorate the airy space, along with potted succulents and cheeky, poppy, cactus-patterned wallpaper.
On the menu are tacos (three breakfast, three all-day), priced just shy of $3; burgers (three options) at $6.50. There are drinks (alcoholic and not: think Paloma, frozen or prickly pear margarita, cold brew, and horchata), and a sparse, straight-forward list of sides: guacamole, charro dip, and curly fries.
A list of more than a dozen providers, three-fourths of which come from Dallas, or more specifically Oak Cliff, fills the center of the menu. That sensibility is part of the focus, which they’re marketing as simple-things-done-well. There are simple breakfast tacos with beans, eggs, cheese, potato, chorizo (yes, yes, you can add avocado). And all-day tacos: brisket, braised chicken, or roasted pork.
Burgers are simple, too. There’s American cheese, a spicy house-made ketchup, a slice of bacon, a fried egg, and pickled onions. (Do they have a vegan Beyond Meat burger? You know they do. The hipness requires it.)
“Making sure that we have a number of different price points” was part of Exxir’s plan, says co-founder Michael Nazerian. “So at Tejas you can eat incredible, locally sourced food for under $10. You can spend a lot more at Paradiso. Or you can just have a drink.”
“It’s fun, it’s vibrant. I think the food there is gonna be fantastic,” Nazerian told me several months ago, when the Tejas project was shaping up. “It really speaks to the roots of Texas. It’s all within Texas. We wanted to lean into something that celebrated Texas and the influence of Texas cuisine: [with] the Southern border, Mexico. How do we make sure that this is a celebration of Texas? It’s either grown in Texas or made in house.”
Once the coffee shop Good Companions opens, the idea is that it, Paradiso, Botanist, and Tejas will have a symbiotic relationship. Evidence of a master plan to take over the world? Maybe.