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El Fenix Sells More Than 33,000 Enchiladas a Week

Dallas's original Tex-Mex chain goes through an insane amount of tortillas every week.

The original El Fenix in downtown Dallas.
The original El Fenix in downtown Dallas.
DMHinIrving/Flickr

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Tex-Mex chains are certainly plentiful around here, but few go as far back as El Fenix. Mexican immigrant Miguel Martinez opened Martinez Cafe on McKinney Avenue in 1918; he started out serving American fare, but soon it was reborn as a Mexican restaurant and renamed El Fenix, after the mythical phoenix said to have risen from its own ashes.

Since then, it's swelled to 22 locations — 21 in Texas, plus one at WinStar Casino. It can no longer lay claim to being the oldest family-owned Tex-Mex restaurant in the state; in 2008 it was sold to Firebird Restaurant Group, which also owns Meso Maya and Snuffer's. Nonetheless, it still has legions of loyal fans who show up in droves for margaritas and never-ending chips and salsa, as evidenced by the frequent crowds found mobbing the flagship downtown Dallas location.

In an average week, the El Fenix chain goes through an insane amount of product to keep up with locals' hunger for enchilada dinners:

Enchiladas: More than 33,000 (all of which are rolled by hand)

Chili con carne: 3,172 pounds (which, coincidentally, is about how much the average female hippopotamus weighs)

Fajita steak: 3,638 pounds

Avocados: 8,866 pounds (at an average of six ounces, that's over 23,000 avocados a week)

Cilantro: 2,050 bunches

Green bell peppers: 1,497 pounds

Jalapeno slices: 349 pounds (apparently Dallasites like things on the mild side)

Tomatoes: 5,628 pounds

Lemons: 2,340 pounds (for all those darn waters-with-lemon)

Rice: 4,673 pounds

Refried beans: 5,780 pounds

Flour and corn tortillas: More than 240,000

Tortilla chips: More than 21,000 pounds

Salsa: more than 4,000 gallons (or enough to fill the average above-ground pool)

Iced tea: 4,939 gallons

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