Restaurants / Openings

Fort Worth’s Magical Sauce Lady Opens Up a New Restaurant Where Scratch Flavors Rule — Inside the New Enchiladas Olé

When Cooking With Care Trumps All

BY // 02.25.20

Mary Perez first gained attention in 2012, when she began selling her homemade, slow-simmered enchilada sauces. They hit store shelves at Central Market and became a hit. Once the craving kicked in, fans demanded more — and a restaurant soon followed.

Perez’s first Enchiladas Olé restaurant was a family affair, opening in a small Fort Worth storefront at 901 N. Sylvania Avenue in February of 2013.

Now, Perez  has joined forces with new partners, Derrek and Laura Drury, to move into and renovate a space which has seen a lot of variety come through it in the past few years. It once housed Sapristi (Belgian), Sera Dining and Wine (Spanish), and Revolver Taco Lounge (interior Mexican) ― before Regino Rojas packed up and moved to Dallas’ Deep Ellum for good.

After a slight delay ― Mary Perez closed her Sylvania Avenue restaurant over the holidays, with hopes of opening the new one in January ― Enchiladas Olé is now set to debut this Thursday, February 27 at 2418 Forest Park Boulevard.

Perez tells PaperCity Forth Worth that she is ready to get cooking. “It’s hard to let go of every detail in the kitchen and train others, when I’ve been doing everything myself all these years,” she says.

Monday night’s soft opening was managed chaos.

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“We had a two hour wait last night, with so many people coming to see us. I couldn’t even look out the door…there were so many people,” Perez says.

But, that’s what happens when you prepare everything from scratch. Perez has notoriously high standards.

“We cook our rice fresh every 45 minutes, and our beans, which take four hours to prepare, are made fresh three times each day,” Perez details.

Enchiladas Olé’s New Look

The vibrant space is now drenched in fresh coats of turquoise blue and turmeric yellow tones. Before the revamp it was a bit choppy and DIY. The floors now sport rustic Mexican brown tiles and wooden beams have now been installed near the bar. Repurposed metal chandeliers add to the ambience — and it is all grounded by a black ceiling and bar front. Dynamic art work, like a painting of Mexican artist and icon Frida Kahlo, and colorful serving pieces and wide-brimmed straw cowboy hats adorn the walls.

The new space doubles the seating from Perez’s former restaurant. Enchiladas Olé can accommodate about 150 diners. A full bar has been added to the mix as well. The cocktail menu has been crafted by a proven mixologist. It was only beer, wine and margaritas in Perez’s Sylvania Avenue restaurant.

Perez brought time-tested menu items along to Enchiladas Olé, including her classic Emoladas with curried chicken, draped in a smoky, traditional mole sauce and topped with sesame seeds. But she has added new dishes such as a New Mexico red sauce to her repertoire as well. New Mexican red chilies add both brighter color and a little more heat than most ancho-based sauces. It will be available as a special on the weekends to start. Also new are her fajitas, tamales and hand-rolled tortillas.

Perez hopes to have her award-winning brand of enchilada sauces back on Central Market shelves later this year. And, if all goes according to plan, you might just see a few more Enchiladas Olé locations popping up elsewhere in coming years.

“The Drury’s have been very supportive, and have allowed me to focus on the kitchen. Our plan is to open multiple locations,” Perez says.

Enchiladas Olé will be open from 11 am to 9 pm Sundays through Wednesdays, and from 11 am to 11 pm Thursdays through Saturdays. The new Fort Worth restaurant will be adding Sunday brunch to the equation in coming months as well.

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