Savoring success: Salsa Limón moves from food truck to downtown place-to-be
Reposted from The Fort Worth Business Press
By Rick Mauch
Salsa Limón Centro
550 Throckmorton St.
Fort Worth 76102
Milo's five favorite dishes
Milo Ramirez loves every dish in the Salsa Limón restaurants created by him and his sister Rosalia. However, he does admit to having some favorites. Here are his top five choices:
1. Capitan – A flour tortilla dish that usually includes steak, Oaxaca cheese and pickled cabbage.
2. Molca bowl - A cup of rice with cabbage, cilantro, lime and sometimes chicken and beans, though he prefers his with no beans.
3. Torta – A Mexican sub with chorizo.
4. Barbacoa burrito – A burrito with barbecued meat, usually from the cheeks of cattle.
5. Consume – Barbacoa meat with a beef broth, cilantro, onions, rice and red sauce.
In 2010 Romiro (Milo) and Rosalia (Ro) Ramirez, brother and sister, took a chance when it looked like their restaurant dream might slip away.
Now, they have expanded into the heart of Fort Worth with their newest location downtown. It debuted with a soft opening in early November, followed by a full grand opening on Nov. 17.
"So far these two quiet days haven't been quiet at all," Milo said with a chuckle during a recent interview.
"We're fortunate to be a very beloved restaurant."
Milo and Rosalia opened their original Salsa Limón location in 2006 in the Le Gran Plaza. It was popular on the weekends but not so much during the week.
"The great recession of 2008 hit Mexican consumers hard," Milo said.
Then came the idea of purchasing their first food truck.
"Our parents, my sister, myself, we just all pulled together. We tightened our belts and were able to get the first food truck," he said. "Fortunately, it worked out and brought us fame."
That truck was a regular on Berry Street near Texas Christian University – and it was popular. Among its signature dishes was the Capitan, a flour tortilla dish that includes their special pickled cabbage.
"It became immediately identifiable," Milo said.
Also, the El Compound, which Milo said was spotlighted in a national publication, is one of their most popular menu items. It features a pillowed egg, avocado and "everything burrito."
"Making that move was big. It got us outside just the Mexican community, and Mexicans still love us, by the way," he said.
Salsa Limón Centro will be their fourth brick-and-mortar location, along with the original in Le Gran Plaza, one near TCU replacing the food truck, and one opening soon in the River District on White Settlement Road. The latter is in a classic diner building that was recently moved from its former location on University Drive across from the Modern Art Museum. They now have a food truck at the museum area location and will re-open with another building in a year and a half, Milo said.
He said they are also planning to branch into Dallas next year with both a food truck and brick-and-mortar location in downtown. They have two trucks in Fort Worth, the one in the Cultural District and another for events.
Other planned Fort Worth locations include the Stockyards next year and the Magnolia-Fairmont area, which will include a strong bar presence and perhaps even an area for native Mexican crafts.
"Someone might say 'I want a pillow for my couch.' Well, we know the most amazing people who do these things," he said.
"Also, people take our decor a lot. I mean, they will just take something, they like it so much. So we're thinking maybe we should give them a chance to buy it."
But most of all, what makes Salsa Limon so popular, Milo said, is the food and the atmosphere. Their philosophy is grounded in four key ingredients: Mexican, modern, organic and delicious.
"We do classic Mexican street food, homemade and slow made," Milo said. "And we have a laid-back attitude, nothing pretentious."
That combination has proven successful, garnering praise from national publications such as USA Today and from fellow chefs such as John Tesar of Dallas’ Spoon.
As for the new location, Milo said downtown Fort Worth makes perfect sense. "It's one of the jewels of Fort Worth. It has families walking around. And a lot of Fort Worth institutions will have people coming to see us."
Milo said he and Ro got the chance to open their first location after having spent time at both art school and in the advertising industry. They worked together on the national campaign out of Miami for the Chevrolet Silverado pickup, garnering attention.
"Her real specialty is the look of it," Milo said. "In business you need someone who can make you strong. Ro does that.
"She comes up with things that keep us special, such as clapping when someone comes in, or ringing a bell. It keeps us from being corporate, keeps every one of our places special."
Such as the River District location. Along with Ro's creativity, Milo noted the help of Chris Powers of Fort Capital, which is developing the district. The location will include an outdoor setting with lots of trees, a treehouse and chicken coops.
"We really want to add to the authenticity” of that area, Milo said. "He's really doing so much for that area and to help us do this.”
Location Mentioned: Salsa Limon- Centro