Tex-Mex food style pioneer Miguel Martinez opened El Fenix Café on the eve of Diez y Seis 1918 in Dallas, Texas. Half a century later, with “Café” dropped from its name, there were 11 locations of this casual-dining family-friendly concept, still serving Tex-Mex along with traditional Mexican fare for dine-in, takeout and catering. Expansion has since doubled. Menu signatures include carne asada, chiles relleno and chimichangas, a variety of margaritas, specialty cocktails and tequilas. Combination plates; egg dishes such as huevos rancheros; tres leches cake and strawberry sopapillas among desserts; and a kids’ menu are also offered. Mike Karns formed Firebird Restaurant Group LLC to acquire El Fenix in 2008. El Fenix promotes its restaurants as party venues, some locations have private rooms for up to 200; it also sells branded sauces, chips and other products online.

LocationDallas, Texas
2012 Systemwide Sales$48,000,000*
% Change in Sales7.9%
2012 U.S. Units22
2012 Average Unit Volume$2,300,000*
% Change in AUV0.9%
Future 50 Year2013