Firebird plans Meso Maya and new Tortaco concept for Fort Worth

Courtesy photo of Chef Nico Sanchez, the chef behind the menus at both Meso Maya and Tortaco.

Firebird Restaurant Group is on the move in Fort Worth. The parent company of El Fenix, Snuffers, Meso Maya and Taqueria La Ventana, now has two new restaurants entering the local market. Neither have a projected opening date yet.

The group’s Meso Maya concept is headed to Downtown Fort Worth.

The S.H. Kress Co., built what is now known as the Kress Building in downtown in 1936 and operated their department store on site until 1960. Most recently the bottom floor of the building at 604 Main St. was home to the Fox and Hound.

The Kress Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. Mike Karns, is CEO and owner of Firebird Restaurant Group. Firebird, through its affiliated real estate company, Triton Commercial Real Estate, purchased the site in March 2015 for $5.4 million and is renovating the building.

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Since then, they have been tight-lipped about which one of their restaurant brands would be going into the Kress Building, but announced Oct. 23 it will be one of their upscale Meso Maya Restaurants. The menu is created by Chef Nico Sanchez.

Guests will enjoy the “fresh, bold and earthy flavors of authentic interior Mexico” with a menu inspired by natural ingredients from Mexico with scratch moles, adobos, salsas, and hand-ground tortillas. Sanchez honed his skills at several restaurants throughout his native Mexico, in states such as Veracruz, where he learned about seafood, dried chilies, and making sauces from scratch, and Oaxaca, where he perfected tamale-making techniques.

Meso Maya is known for hand-crafted margaritas such as the original Avocado Margarita; the restaurants offer over 40 sipping tequilas as well. Two other Meso Maya locations are in Dallas; one in North Dallas and the other near the Perot Museum.

Karns also recently purchased the ripe-avocado-hued mid-century modern office building at 910 Currie (the former Fixi Shop across from Fred’s and next door to Steel City Pops). That is where Firebird is planting their newest concept, which will be called Tortaco, and is described as a brand new creative concept.

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This casual restaurant will premiere a chef-driven menu which will also be developed by Sanchez, who is the creative force behind Meso Maya and Taqueria La Ventana menus. Tortaco will feature a full bar with signature cocktails. More details on the concept will be released later.

“Firebird is in a careful but aggressive expansion mode with our four existing brands, along with innovative and exciting new concepts and acquisitions rapidly taking shape. Mike Karns, our owner and CEO, saw it as the perfect time for our expanded vision for Meso Maya and for the premiere of Tortaco,” said Darius Gilanfar, COO, Firebird Restaurant Group.