Cafe Reviewed: Wednesday, January 07, 2009
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Owner Betty Fernandez Ruiz serves up the ... chicken and dumplings?
Fernandez Café
4220 W Vickery Blvd, FW. 817-377-2652. Mon 7am-2pm, Tue-Fri 6:30am-2pm, 5-9pm, Sat 7:30am-9pm, Sun 7:30am-1:30pm. Cash and check only.
Fernandez Café
Mexican-style oatmeal w/ fruit $4.50
Breakfast burrito $2.75
Migas $5.50
Huevos rancheros $5.50
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Heart, Smart, Hearty

From low- to high-cal, Fernandez Café has it all, and it’s good and fresh to boot.

By LAURIE BARKER JAMES

Fernandez Café has occupied its spot on West Vickery Boulevard since 1992 and is one of the few truly family-owned establishments in the area. Betty Fernandez Ruiz came to work for her brother Abraham when the restaurant opened, in part, her son Tony said, because “she was bored at home.” Six months later, Betty took over and has been running the establishment with the help of her sons and extended family ever since.
There’s an easy charm to the little place — it used to be just one room, now it’s two. Some friends of mine once lived in the neighborhood and became regulars there. After a four-year extended absence, they reported that when they returned to Fernandez Café, they were greeted with “Where you guys been?!” Evidently, if you’re a regular “regular,” you might even get a plate or a bowl named after you.
The menu is full of both typical and unusual Mexican fare. Fernandez serves menudo and barbacoa on the weekends and, every day for breakfast, Mexican oatmeal: cream and cinnamon in a delicious custard. Add some fruit, and you might actually feel as if you’re eating healthfully. Speaking of which, Fernandez is one of the few Mexican restaurants in town that offers “heart smart” options, ones lower in fat and calories. You can have the low-cal burrito, made with egg whites, and the conveniently labeled “low-cal dinners” include veggie and chicken plates and bowls, with whole beans instead of refried as a side.
At a recent brunch with “the regulars,” we weren’t in the mood for low-cal. It was a little too early to think about menudo, and nobody had a hangover (both barbacoa and menudo are rumored to treat overindulgence). But the breakfast burrito definitely called to us. Fernandez’ large version of the Tex-Mex staple was no joke: a two-fisted roll of goodness, with eggs, potato, beans, and your choice of bacon or chorizo sausage. Cheese is optional. The large, soft, fresh flour tortilla could barely contain the innards.
Fernandez Café’s “special sauce” — mild salsa with onions — is generously ladled over both the migas and the huevos rancheros and is a great addition to any combo of eggs, beans, potatoes, and corn tortillas. The bits of crispy fried tortillas mixed into the eggs in the migas plate lent everything a welcome, thick texture, and the refried beans were silky and sumptuous.
If you linger past breakfast and into lunch, you’ll get the chance to try the enchiladas, which, according to the posters by the cash register, won a “best of” contest over on the North Side in 1994. They’re still just as good, and you can get them as part of several plates or a la carte. The chicken enchiladas had hearty chunks of white meat inside and a rich cream sauce on top. The gooey cheese enchiladas were topped with a flavorful, zesty red sauce.
Fernandez Café takes “hot” literally. Ask for jalapeños, and you’ll get ’em freshly shredded, not stewed and pickled, and the “hot” salsa is volcanic.
Nothing on the menu exceeds $10, and everything, from the eggs to the enchiladas, is good and fresh.


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