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The King of Mexico City-Inspired Cuisine

When Javier Gutierrez created his gourmet culinary institution in Dallas, he opted for something authentic.

Owner Javier Gutierrez opened his namesake Cole Avenue restaurant in 1977.

“My background was totally different from Dallas,” he says. In his twenties, Gutierrez and his business partners took the plunge into a facility located near fashionable Highland Park. His father was a doctor in Mexico City who moved the family to Dallas when Javier was a boy. 

Years later, with the opening of Javier’s, he went way beyond the typical fare offered in Dallas, opting for a bolder, authentic approach: Mexico City-style gourmet. Some of that decision involved the Mexican food he found around town: “I didn’t think it had been given proper representation, at least not Dallas,” he says.

While there were scores of mainstream Tex-Mex joints around town (“El Chico and El Fenix were both big”), he wasn’t a fan of the blankets and sombreros. There was something missing, something absent from Dallas menus. Nothing of the continental Mexico City he remembered. “Fresh seafood, filets, chicken,” Gutierrez says. “[As] opposed to tacos and enchiladas, which is what the emphasis was here. That’s what I wanted for Dallas—a better representation as far as Mexico City cuisine.”

That concept grew on customers, particularly the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, Turtle Creek, and others close by. “Many have been customers for generations and supported us for years,” Gutierrez says.

But what about those who have never dined at Javier’s? Why should they put his restaurant on their to-do list? For one, Gutierrez believes Tex-Mex is primarily tacos and enchiladas, certainly not the fresh seafood, quality steaks, and shrimp on his Javier’s menu.

“If you want to experience a concept that’s different in the Mexican food field, this is it,” he says. “We cater to someone who wants a more sophisticated cuisine than your typical Tex-Mex restaurant.”

Not to mention: Javier’s legendary cigar bar is nothing less than iconic within the Dallas social set. Gutierrez saw cigars as a logical brand extension, with an interesting continental twist.

And that swanky cigar bar and gourmet cuisine have built quite the reputation for this restaurant. Personalities who have dined at Javier’s over the years include Rod Stewart, ZZ Top, Troy Aikman (as well as a variety of Dallas Cowboys), Owen Wilson, Jessica Simpson, and George Strait.

As he reflects on his career thus far, Gutierrez says he enjoys his success. And even though it has spanned more than 40 years, he says won’t end anytime soon.

  • Javier Gutierrez