Fort Worth Food Entrepreneur Finally Gets to Open Her Dream Mexican Restaurant in South Main Village
S.Arah Castillo seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
The owner of Taco Heads completed her food truck in an underrated Fort Worth area on Montgomery Street four years ago. The two tiny buildings with a wooden terrace distributed in between are now one of the closest neighbors to the brand new Dickies Arena with $ 540 million, the entrance door of which is directly opposite.
Right place. Right time.
The following year, in 2017, Castillo announced plans to open a second restaurant called Tinie’s Mexican Rotisserie in an area no one had thought of in more than 50 years – a small town called South Main Village.
Castillo and her partners are hosting a sip and a sip of this new restaurant and bar this Friday, February 28th, from 8pm to midnight. Audiences are invited to enjoy one of two cocktails that Tinie’s finally opened will serve at the event. The long-awaited restaurant will officially open on March 10th. The gentle opening begins on March 5th.
The SOMA development at 125 South Main Street was originally scheduled to open in January 2018 – two solid years ago. If it had opened according to this original plan, Tinie’s would likely have been one of the very first things to open on the South Main, and would have had to do it alone for years, in a neighborhood that has transitioned from worn warehouses to the hippest new area of new Fort Worth.
As everyone knows, South Main exploded last year. But thanks to some serious construction problems (like brick wall failures that had to be completely reworked and remodeled), Castillo’s dream of Mexico City was far from the first thing that put South Main back on the map. Her Tinie’s Mexican rotisserie can now join the busy ecosystem that has sprung up all around her.
Right place. Right time.
Build on success
Meanwhile, while Tinie’s was slow to take shape, Castillo opened another stylish Taco Heads in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood of Dallas and cemented plans to open a small bar called The Sidesaddle Saloon on the redesigned Mule Alley Fort Worth Stockyards. She expects a new water point to open this summer.
Tinie’s has its roots in a former industrial estate owned by landlord Laurie Henderson. Castillo and her business partner Glen Keely (which also owns Thompson’s Bookstore and Poag Mahones Irish Pub) have now completely turned it into a family-friendly restaurant on the ground floor, with a sexy adult bar upstairs – complete with a lush and tropical terrace and sweeping views .
“Our menu is served in a familiar and large format,” Sarah Castillo told PaperCity Fort Worth. “I love the idea of a family meal,” she says. Christian Lehrmann, who is also her partner at Taco Heads, will act as Tiny’s cook.
“What began as a roast chicken concept has evolved. I designed it after restaurants and bars in Mexico City, ”says Castillo. She serves chicken in mole sauce and seasonal ceviches, like the one Tinie’s opened – with mango, serrano pepper, jicama and Tiger’s milk broth. The menu also includes tamales, tacos, and handmade empanadas.
Blue banquet seats flank the right wall at Tinie’s. (Photo by Courtney Dabney.)
Choose a large-sized protein like roast Mexican chicken, achiato seared pork, slow braised goat, a Veracruz-style fish called pescado a la plancha with green olives, roasted tomatoes and capers, or a bone-in strip with chimichurri sauce. Meals are all served with fresh tortillas, picante beans, roasted peppers, pickled vegetables, and house salsa.
The interior of the Tinie is rustic and sophisticated. The brick walls appear to be inlaid, but in reality it was just an artistic application of mortar. The right wall is flanked by dark blue banquets and wooden tables topped with frosted glass pendants that add a vintage look with concrete floors under the foot.
The rest will be scattered tables with arched ladder-backed chairs. A U-shaped bar is the focal point at the back of the restaurant, where the kitchen is also located.
Castillo had a little help with the design. Her mother is an interior designer who luckily works with Joseph Minton and gave his advice throughout the process. The entire wall under the stairs that lead to the bar was imitated in shades of rust by artist Shawn Marshall.
El Escondite (literally translated “the hiding place”) is a cozy and sexy escape on the second floor. The candle-lit room will glow red and has rustic wooden stools and benches to sit on as well as along the bar and at high bar tables and marble tables. Wood floors, ceiling boards, natural wood window coverings, and the addition of wallpaper that resembles antique book bindings add age to the room.
Up a few steps and through the double doors you will find the terrace full of greenery and vegetation. The oasis overlooks the downtown Fort Worth skyline. A limited selection of tapas is offered upstairs.
Ambient music will set the tone, as will the scent of Mayan incense.
“Copal reminds me of a Catholic Church. . . there will be a distinct sense of place, ”says Castillo. In addition to craft cocktails and beers, El Escondite serves a range of different tequilas and mescals as well as a wine list with exclusively Mexican, Spanish and Latin American vintages.
Let’s call it an escape within an escape. Right place. Right time.