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” in the front, 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 to 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.


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