Not much has changed at Javier’s on Cole Avenue over the 24 years the restaurant has offered continental Mexico City cuisine to the neighborhood.
“We used to be next door to Inland Marine, and the customers looked out the windows at sailboats. Now there are the big glass high-rises,” says Preston Hollow resident Javier Gutierrez, the man who makes everything happen inside Javier’s. But the food has stayed the same.
What led Gutierrez here?
“I came up from Mexico City when I was 12; my father was a doctor,” he says.
After graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington, he was challenged by friends to bring the Mexico City cuisine he had grown up with to an area that was Tex-Mex inundated.
“I put up the energy, and the people in the area found out about us 24 years ago,” Gutierrez says. They have been coming ever since, and the restaurant’s reputation has grown as more celebrities have discovered it.
“I asked Muhammad Ali how he liked his dinner, and being the witty gentleman that he is, he said: The food is very good; the cook must be black.”
One of the reasons celebrities continue to visit Javier’s is that they aren’t asked for photos and are afforded the privacy so difficult for them to find.
“Dustin Hoffman has been in, Rod Stewart, the guys with Led Zepplin, and President George W. Bush came in when he was doing business here. Troy Aikman, Kenny Rogers and some of the Rangers have been in,” Gutierrez says.
But food remains the focus at Javier’s.
“Zagat’s Dining Guide said that the menu has stayed the same because the food is that good, and I guess they are right. Ninety percent of the people order the same thing every time they come in,” Gutierrez says.
The most popular offering is the Filleti Cantiflas, named after a famous Mexican comedian, although Gutierrez says the red snapper dishes have been gaining in popularity over the years.
“Four years ago, we added a cigar room, which added to the ambience,” he says.
The dark interior has long been a favorite of neighborhood folks who cross the railroad tracks to get there.
“From the point of view of the rent, I’m on the right side of the tracks!” Gutierrez jokes.
Although he says expansion to other cities is possible, for now he’s a one-man show who enjoys his off-time.
“I love to go big-game hunting. I have a ranch in East Texas and a boat at Texoma, where I take my son. I love to play golf too.”
“Balance is important. We are only open for dinner, so I have time in the morning. It is easier on myself and on the personnel. I have waiters who have been here 15 to 20 years. We pride ourselves on our consistency.”
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