There’s a new restaurant in our neighborhood. But if you’re like us, you might have written it off as the same old thing the first time you drove past the sign. Next time, however, you might want to give it another look.

The restaurant is El Camino Real Tex-Mex, located at the southwest corner of Preston and Royal. But don’t look for that name, because the sign out front reads a generic “Tex-Mex.”

Paul Sepulveda, who owns and runs the place, says they didn’t put the full name of the restaurant on the sign out front for one simple reason: It just wouldn’t fit. So they settled for simply “Tex-Mex,” putting the bigger sign at the back entrance.

This little piece of trivia might leave you wondering if the owner is new to the restaurant business. But Sepulveda, formerly the general manager of Le Rendezvous next door, has been working full-time in the restaurant business since he was 13.

“My dad used to take me to work with him when I was just a little kid,” he says. “He’d put me in the supply room to play with my G.I. Joes when things got real busy.”

Despite his years in the business, Sepulveda says this restaurant is a new experience for him.

“I’ve never worked in Tex-Mex,” he says. “When I was asked about opening a place here, I went over the Borders across the street to buy some cookbooks and learn some recipes. I just started experimenting with them and came up with some that I liked best.”

The result is a restaurant with a menu and interior that are much more interesting than its exterior suggests. Instead of sombreros and Mexican blankets, you’ll find soft pastels and floral arrangements on the walls. And while the menu primarily consists of Tex-Mex favorites, it offers flavorful food with a colorful presentation.

Arts & Entertainment

Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse Feb. 7, Songweaver Band with Pat Malone; Feb. 14, Vance Gilbert with Amy Carol Webb; Feb. 21, Susan Werner; Feb. 28, Johnsmith with Annie Mosher. A smoke-free, alcohol-free venue for live music. All shows start at 8 p.m. and are $10-$12 unless noted. Northpark Presbyterian Church, 9555 N. Central. 214-363-0044 or visit www.unclecalvins.org.

Children of Eden Thursday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 15, 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 16, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. From Stephen Schwartz (“Pippin”, “Godspell”) and John Caird (“Les Miserables”) comes a musical about parents, children and faith, based on the story of Genesis, from Adam and Eve to Noah and the Flood! Tickets $20-$35 adults, $15-$25 students/seniors, $9 children 7-12. Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven. For information, contact Judy Cohn at 214-739-2737, ext. 215, or jcohn@jccdallas.com.

Community

Tuesday’s Movie Time Tuesdays, Feb. 4 & 18, 10:30 a.m. Each session includes an interactive discussion following the film’s conclusion. Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven. For information, contact sbalaban@jccdallas.com.

Community Volunteer Fair Saturday, Feb. 8.The Junior League of Dallas hosts an all-day event showcasing more than 40 non-profit agencies, featuring volunteer opportunities with each. NorthPark Shopping Center, Northwest Hwy. at N. Central.

Scrapbook Cropathon Sunday, Feb. 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Come and enjoy a day of preserving family memories. Scrappers of all ages and skill levels are invited to participate in a day filled with demos, prizes and food. Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven. Any potential scrappers needing assistance prior to the Cropathon, please contact Chair Anna Moskowitz at 214-363-6696. For information, contact lbrodsky@jccdallas.com.

Free Tax Help Mondays (except Feb. 17). 12-4 p.m. Bring your current tax information and forms, along with your previous year’s tax return. Sponsored by AARP, available to the public; persons 55+ given priority. Preston Royal Branch Library, 5626 Royal. 214-670-7128.

JCC Tennis Program Now Open to non-members. Lessons, clinics and drill sessions with the tennis staff are now available to the public on a limited basis. For information call Austin Holley, 214-739-2737, ext. 254.

Town Hall Meeting Monday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m. Ken Zornes, DISD Board president, and Superintendent Mike Moses will host a town hall meeting at Pershing Elementary, 5715 Meaders Ln. 972-794-8600.

Family & Youth

Funtasia 2003 Sunday, Feb. 2, 12-3 p.m. A carnival of discovery, featuring train rides, a bounce house, petting zoo, food, silent auction and more. Admission is free; games, arts and food tickets are 25 cents each. Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven. Call 214-739-2737 for information.

Library Live! Interacting with Hands, Voice and Music Tuesday, Feb. 11, 10:30 a.m. Learn to communicate thoughts and feelings through singing, instruments and sign language with the Pirtles. Preston Royal Branch Library, 5626 Royal. 214-670-7128.

The Little Engine That Could Sunday, Feb. 23, 5 p.m. ArtsPower National Touring Theatre brings to life one of the most beloved children’s stories in this new musical for kids. Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven. Call 214-739-2737 for tickets and information.

Mitzvah Impossible Sundays, Feb. 23-April 27, 3-4 p.m., overnight weekend May 2. A program for grades 5-9. Participants work as a team and compete against other teams to see who is faster, smarter and more able to help their fellow man. Competitions held each week in three challenges: mental, physical and a mitzvah for the ultimate prize. You might be making sandwiches or maybe planting a garden, but whatever it is it will be fun and rewarding. The class will end in a special Shabbat Camping Overnight at Lake Cleburne to complete the final challenges and award the winners. With coordinators Julie Dubin and Heather Deitchman. Program: $175, with $20 materials fee. Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven. For information contact Julie Dubin at jdubin@jccdallas.com.

Gizmo Guys Saturday, March 1, 7:30 p.m. Don’t miss an evening of comedy and juggling for the whole family. JCC’s Zale Auditorium, 7900 Northaven. To order your tickets by phone, call 214-739-2737, fax your order to 214-368-4709 or e-mail to jcohn@jccdallas.com.

Preston Hollow Early Childhood PTA meets the fourth Thursday of each month, August-April, at Highland Baptist Church, 8202 Boedeker. This year’s guest speakers include child psychologist Nell Bush, Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow and neighborhood resident and portrait photographer Stacy Bratton. Breakfast begins at 9 a.m., with the meeting at 9:30 a.m. Babysitting is available for a small fee. Call Shannon Nealon at 214-360-9742 for information.

Literary

Preston Royal Book Discussion Group Wednesday, Feb. 19, 10:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. Come for a discussion of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich, Preston Royal Branch Library, 5626 Royal. 214-670-7128.

Barnes and Noble Author Signings and Discussions Saturday, Feb. 1, 2 p.m. Clay Reynolds, The Tentmaker; Saturday, Feb. 8, noon, John Dwyer, Robert E. Lee; Wednesday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m. Shewanda Riley and Dr. Germaine Hawkins, Love Hangover; Sunday, Feb. 16, 1 p.m., Stephen Manning, Texans Touched by World War II; Sunday, Feb. 23, 1 p.m., How to Get Your Children’s Book Published, featuring authors Sally Roberts, Dee Stuart, Christine Ford and B.J. Stone; Wednesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m., George Yancey and Sherelyn Whittum Yancey, Just Don’t Marry One, 7700 W. Northwest Hwy. 214-739-1124.

Barnes and Noble Book Groups Thursday, Feb. 6, 10:30 a.m., Ladies Morning Discussion Group: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie; Sunday, Feb. 9, 3 p.m., Classics Book Group: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens; Tuesday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m., Ladies Evening Discussion Group; Wednesday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m. Dallas Storytellers Association; Tuesday, Feb. 18, 6:30 p.m. Youth Etiquette Symposium Book Group, 7700 W. Northwest Hwy. 214-739-1124.


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