Presented By

Haggar-logo Dallas-logo

  1. The Elevation of Tex-Mex
    Mico Rodriguez
  2. The Bounty of the Barnett Shale
    Kelcy Warren
  3. The Entrepreneurial Woman
    Tomima Edmark
  4. The Growth of the Vietnamese Community
    Jennifer Nguyen
  5. The Founding of Uptown
    Phil Cobb
  6. The Changing Face of Politics
    Craig Watkins
  7. The Brain Gain
    Dr. Hao Zhu
  8. The Four Sport Town
    Mike Modano
  9. The Underground Culture
    Katherine Owens
  10. The Catholic Migration
    Father Ivan Asencio
  11. The Organized South Asian Community
    John Hammond
  12. The Next Way to Develop
    Jeff Blackard
  13. The Allure of the Silicon Prairie
    Anousheh Ansari
  14. The lighting of Reunion Tower
    George Schrader
  15. The New Old Tradition
    Jennifer Moreno
  16. The Test Kitchen
    Mariel Street
  17. The Art Magnet
    Kevin Moriarty
  18. The Glamorous Return of Dallas Shopping
    Brian Bolke
  19. The Strengthening of the Gay Community
    Jack Evans and George Harris
  20. The Resurgence of Downtown Dallas
    Art Ortiz
  21. The Megachurch Boom
    Ed Young
  22. The Fundraisers
    Lynn McBee
  23. The Refuge
    Pedro Amaya
  24. The Reason Dallas Took Off
    Ron Barzyk
  25. The Girl Who Stayed Home
    Erykah Badu
  26. The Preservation of Our Historic Buildings
    Virginia McAlester
  27. The Thriving Ethiopian Community
    Birhan Mekonnen
  28. The New Dallas ISD
    Jessica Leija
  29. The Rebirth of the Trinity River
    Peter Payton
  30. The Trains Start Running
    Ladrika Davis Gross
  31. The Architect of an Art Scene
    Stephen Lapthisophon
  32. The Calculator That Changed the World
    Vonnie Howard
  33. The Rise and Fall and Rise of Deep Ellum
    Frank Campagna
  34. The Big Move
    Kendra Norwood
  35. The Expanding Empire in Fort worth
    Scott Hernandez
  36. The Family Recipe
    Chuy Cruz
  37. The Transformation of Oak Cliff
    David Spence
  38. The Now-Legal Immigrant
    Jesus Castillo Carrizales
  39. The City of Philanthropists
    Lyda Hill
  40. The Transplants
    Tara Vornkahl
00 The Elevation of Tex-Mex Monday, April 7, at 10:37am at Mesero Miguel

Mico Rodriguez

Miguel Martinez opened El Fenix, the first Mexican restaurant in Dallas, in 1918. To entice gringos, he topped his enchiladas with Texas chili and offered chicken-fried steak. Without realizing it, Martinez created a new cuisine. It was eventually dubbed Tex-Mex.

In 1928, Adelaida “Mama” Cuellar opened Cuellar’s Cafe in Kaufman. Four of her sons moved to Dallas in 1940 and opened the first El Chico. These two families laid the foundation for Dallas’ flavor profile. However, lard-laden combination plates changed forever once Mico Rodriguez and his partners opened the first Mi Cocina in the Preston Forest Shopping Center in 1991. Rodriguez refined the Tex-Mex experience by using quality ingredients such as expensive cheddar cheese and fresh jalapeños and cilantro. And he ran his 12-table restaurant like a fine-dining room. Gringos now lined up for sides of sunset sauce and hand-swirled Mambo Taxis. By 2002, Rodriguez was the CEO of M Crowd, a company with restaurants generating an estimated $48 million.

Then his world began to fall apart. Rodriguez struggled with drugs, alcohol, weight, and divorce. In 2008, he lost his company to his partners. “I literally won the lottery, lost the lottery, and millions of dollars,” Rodriguez says.

After years in and out of rehab, Rodriguez has started over. In 2012, he opened Mr Mesero, a 12-table restaurant on McKinney Avenue. Once again, he created an elegant, casual atmosphere and filled the menu with sophisticated Tex-Mex, such as personalized queso service. A year later, he opened Mesero Miguel, a chic, regional Mexican food restaurant. Customers who discovered Rodriguez in the early days now bring their grandchildren to his restaurants. They come for the unique flavors they grew up eating and now crave, a distinctive taste that is exclusive to Dallas. And even if he loses it all over again, nobody can ever erase Rodriguez’s stamp on Tex-Mex.