A Houston-based Tex-Mex eatery specializing in fresh fajitas is getting all up in Austin’s grill.
Fajita Pete’s, the fast-growing fajita franchise that was founded in Houston in 2008 and now boasts 21 locations and 54 more in development and opening by 2023, is moving into the Austin market with five planned fajita joints.
The first Fajita Pete’s in Austin will be located at Balcones Drive and RM 2222, and is scheduled to open in late August or early September, with construction beginning on the site imminently.
Austin franchisee Michael Blalock, who attended the University of Texas and has a good handle on the local market, will operate all five Fajita Pete’s restaurants, though he believes “the greater Austin area will support a lot more than five locations.”
The brand’s Austin growth is part of a company-wide expansion for the fajita carryout, delivery, and catering service, which plans to open 10 to 12 more locations in various markets this year, and is rapidly expanding in Dallas, Colorado, and Kansas City.
“The Texas expansion plan is to fill out greater Houston, greater Dallas, greater Austin, and hopefully break into San Antonio in the next 18 months as well,” says Blalock, an entrepreneur with a background in running small- to medium-sized businesses.
The Balcones Drive spot encompasses about 1,200 square feet, and while there will be a select few seats available for dining in, Blalock says more than 99 percent of Fajita Pete’s customers opt for pickup, catering, or delivery service (both in-house and through third-party delivery providers).
“We are working with the commercial real estate team to identify our next locations,” Blalock tells CultureMap. “We are trying to fast-track our Austin expansion and want to make sure that we are choosing the right locations.”
Regardless of the spots, Fajita Pete’s is likely to win Austin eaters over simply by specializing in what many locals consider a bona fide food group.
Fajita Pete’s signature menu item is — you guessed it — fajitas, which are available in chicken, beef, shrimp, veggie, and mixed versions. Tex-Mex lovers can go grande with the colossal family-sized pack, which includes a pound and a half of fajitas, hand-rolled tortillas, flautas, refried beans, rice, pico, sour cream, guacamole, queso, salsa, chips, and churros.
Fajita freaks not needing to feed the whole family can opt for the smaller-sized fajita trio, and even fajitas for one (good luck keeping ’em to yourself!).
Other menu highlights include burritos, chicken flautas, fajita salad, enchiladas verdes, and tacos, as well as kids’ dishes, queso and other sides, desserts, imported and domestic beers, and frozen Pete’s Ritas, available in 16-ounce, 20-ounce, half-gallon, and gallon sizes (because it’s not a fajita party without the frosty margs!).
“Fajita Pete’s is attracting a lot of attention from potential franchisees because our proven business model has seen the brand not only survive but thrive during the pandemic,” says Pedro “Pete” Mora, founder and CEO, in a recent news release about the company’s expansion plans. “With these latest signings, our expansion plan has exceeded our expectations. We also have more locations in the pipeline, both inside and outside Texas, that we plan to announce soon.”