What goes around, comes around, and comes back again in Houston. Years ago, there was a Ninfa’s location at 1650 Post Oak Blvd. (it was called Ninfa’s The Drive Inn) and like most things in the Galleria area, fashions change. But now, under the direction and ownership of Legacy Restaurants, the fajitas and margs are back in the neighborhood – at BLVD Place in the Uptown District. It’s the space formerly occupied by Peska, which closed last year.
The 6,300SF restaurant will have seating for approximately 280 guests, with 180 seats inside – including 50 in the bar area and 40 in a flexible private dining room – and 100 outside in three different covered patio seating areas. Legacy Restaurants Executive Chef Alex Padilla, who has helmed the kitchen at The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation since 2006, will oversee the kitchen operations as Corporate Chef. The company plans to hire a Chef de Cuisine for the Uptown location in the coming months.
“We have been looking for a premier location for the first ‘new’ Original Ninfa’s, and we have been focused on the Galleria/Uptown area for some time,” said Legacy Restaurants CEO Jonathan Horowitz. “The size of this space and its location are just what we were searching for. As for the restaurant itself, we don’t see the need to make any significant changes to The Original Ninfa’s formula – both the classic items and the exciting new additions Chef Padilla has made over the past 12 years are extremely popular with our guests. If it’s not broken, we’re not going to try to fix it.”
Austin-based architect and designer Michael Hsu and his team are in the process of creating the interior design and overall look and feel of the restaurant. The kitchen will be expanded to accommodate both the wood-burning oven and wood-burning grill that have become fixtures at The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation. Likewise, a tortilla-making station will allow diners to observe the process of making thousands of tortillas to order daily, and the bar area will expand to accommodate more seating and guests. The renovation will be done by Houston-based Construction Concepts.
“We obviously can’t recreate the interior design of the 45-year old restaurant on Navigation, but we will make this modern location feel as comfortable and inviting as The Original,” Horowitz said. “It will both be an homage to the Navigation restaurant and an appealing destination for customers who live and/or work in the Uptown Houston area.”