An award-winning Texas retailer and restaurant has opened a new concept featuring Tex-Mex and smoked meats.
Call AG TexicanIt’s a new restaurant from Abel Gonzales that debuted at 7101 Harry Hines Blvd. It is open for breakfast and lunch from Monday to Saturday.
Gonzalez, world-famous for scoring repeat wins at the Texas State Fair’s annual Big Tex Awards, previously opened an Italian restaurant on the same site, but COVID-19 affected the business and closed in March 2021.
“We’ve been through hard times during COVID-19,” he says. “We closed our doors for a while to wait for that and then decided to take the opportunity to re-do it all and see what we want to do. Italian food hasn’t really worked in this neighborhood, so we said, ‘Let’s make something different.'”
In addition to learning a lesson many restaurants have learned before him – that Italian can be a real challenge in Dallas – he also knew he wanted to be open only for breakfast and lunch.
“That’s when most of the work in this field comes in,” he says.
Gonzalez, a longtime state fair vendor best known in 2010 for his award-winning fried butter, is also a hospitality connoisseur with a catering company who grew up in the restaurant industry, working in the kitchen of his father’s restaurant, AJ Gonzales’ Mexican Oven, in the West End. Abel also previously owned a restaurant on Ross Street called Republic Farm; The space is now home to XOXO, a pink favorite for girls’ night out.
But his signature cuisine has always been barbecue and Texas food.
He enjoys making creative combinations of breakfast tacos—chorizo and eggs, potatoes and eggs, beans and bacon—as well as gourmet buns with toppings like fresh strawberries.
Lunch includes Tex-Mex classics such as quesadillas with a choice of brisket, pork, steak, chicken, grilled veggies, or cheese; Gorditas and Flotas. torta with a choice of smoked ham or smoked breast; And sides like cilantro rice, bacon beans, and jalapeno potato salad.
There’s also a daily special for $10 to $12, with options like half smoked chicken and smoked pepper rellenos.
During the holidays, they made a dry run tamales, with fillings that included smoked brisket, smoked ham, green chile chicken, turkey and tamales. They sold like crazy.
Smoked meats are a big part of that concept, Gonzalez says.
“It’s just a place for breakfast and lunch, but we do smoked brisket, ham and sausage, so you can have a morning taco with regular sausage or smoked sausage, or a smoked breast taco with a fried egg,” he says. “It’s that irresistible combination of Texas and Mexican food.”