After four and a half years, Diana and Phillip Downs are helping to bring back some Waxahachie flavor with the new owners of Niños Mexican Restaurant, daughter Nicole Chambers and her husband Jason.
The owners will host a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 200 S. Rogers St. to let to community know the family is back and said they’re excited to serve the downtown area.
The restaurant closed in 2009 after the family faced competitors, some debt-related issues and a call to serve on several mission trips, Diana said. Niños, which means “children” in Spanish, was open 27 years.
“This is something I’ve done my entire life, and to see it shut down, I hated it,” Nicole said. “I’ve told many people it would be open again, so it says a lot when people come in here and say ‘You said you’d open it up again,’ and I say, ‘I told y’all.’”
She wants to make sure Nino’s doesn’t become a distant memory and hopes it will help support her parents as they head toward the age of retirement, Nicole said.
“It’s hard, you know?” she said. “Being a family-owned business, you don’t get all the 401K’s, and retirement and things like that. I saw that as ‘That’s what this is going to do for them.’”
As Nicole, Jason, Diana and Philip train new waiters and cooks, the family said they want to capture the original feel of Niño’s from years prior, to focus on the downtown audience and to provide consistency in taste.
“Waxahachie is such a traditional town, with lots of memories,” Diana said. “Just like Texas, we have not a pride, but a proudness of what is here. People always remember, the kids that were raised with Niños are faithful and loyal. You definitely raise a clientele with a particular taste.”
With more than 2,000 followers on the Niños Facebook page, fans are voicing their excitement for the re-opening.
“My family — kids who grew up eating at Niños — wants to get together in the near future and enjoy a Niños reunion,” said Nancy Helms Guess, a commenter on the page. “We'll be coming from different directions, each being about an hour away.”
With the a new location and the opening, the family has also discussed the option of adding other plates to the menu, which resembles the original. The menu will still include Niños famous sauce and French dressing. However, Nicole and Diana both said any new ideas aren’t final at the moment, except for one item: The Cop Burger.
A blend of salty and sweet, the burger is a patty with lettuce, tomatoes and all the dressings. Yet, it has two doughnuts for buns. The idea came after a visit to the State Fair of Texas with Nicole’s brother Nicholas, an officer in Tarrant County.
Nicholas also wanted to reopen the restaurant after it closed, Diana said, but couldn’t because of his career. However, Diana said Nicholas would be there to help however he can, whenever he can.
“This is something we’ve always wanted,” Diana said about the opening.
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