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Opening an El Chico in Saudi Arabia

June 7, 2011 |  6:04 am

When I was growing up in Dallas a million years ago, we would go to eat Mexican food at one of two places -- El Chico, a chain founded in 1940, or El Fenix, which started in 1918.

So when we received a news release that El Chico was opening up a location in Saudi Arabia, it kind of blew my mind. Serving 1960s-era Tex-Mex in Saudi Arabia! I wonder how local residents will like it. The restaurant will be in Riyadh. It will be a franchise, owned by a Saudi company called Safari Group.

The El Chico brand is owned by CRO, a Dallas-based company operating 117 restaurants. The CRO portfolio of brands includes the Cantina Laredo, Cool River Cafe, Silver Fox, Good Eats, Lucky's and III Forks brands. It plans to open 100 new restaurants over the next few years, including several in the Middle East.

For now, at least, they don't have any restaurants in California. Should they come here?

-- Sharon Bernstein