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The El Cantina Opens Its Doors July 4

Ken Bridge's new Tex-Mex spot on White Oak is opening just in time for your day off.

By Katharine Shilcutt July 3, 2014

The patio at The El pays homage to Lower Westheimer institutions past and present.

UPDATE: Ken Bridge emailed to let us know that The El's opening will be pushed back until dinner; he expects the doors will be open by 5 p.m.

Ken Bridge thought that he'd have his newest restaurant, The El Cantina Superior, open by now. In fact, he'd anticipated being open in the first weeks of June. This being Houston, however, nothing—not even restaurants from experienced restaurateurs (Bridge also owns the Pink's Pizza Chain, Lola, Witchcraft, and Shepherd Park Draught House)—opens on time. Ever. But the good news is that after a long wait, The El will finally open its doors just in time for the long holiday weekend.

The El Cantina Superior
602 Studewood

"We've officially been cleared for take-off and The El will open for public service beginning this Friday lunch," reports Bridge. Though passersby today may find it difficult to believe the restaurant's opening tomorrow afternoon considering the construction that's still going on inside and out, never underestimate the speed with which a space can come together in that final overnight push.

Previously hidden by construction fencing, the patio at The El is now on full display along Studewood. Interestingly—considering its Heights location—Bridge seems to have constructed an homage to some of his favorite Montrose haunts, both past and present. Neon signs running along the top of the building's exterior feature the names of vintage clothing store Taxi Taxi, Shaw's Tattoos (based on the Shaw Tattoo Studio at Westheimer and Dunlavy), Dream Merchant (the relatively upscale head shop/clothing outlet now occupied by Mark's American Cuisine), and the Daiquiri Factory (which is now Anvil Bar & Refuge).

Look for The El's biggest neon sign—its own marquee—to be lit up starting tomorrow night, as a sign that its fajitas and margaritas are now finally being served. "It's been a long journey," says Bridge, "and we're all incredibly excited."


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