Legacy Restaurants owns and operates the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation and Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys, two of Houston’s most iconic brands. For more information click on one of the links below or contact us at info@legacyrestaurants.com.

Our Brands

 

The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation…This is where it all started, where Mama Ninfa first stuffed chargrilled sliced beef into a handmade flour tortilla and launched the national fajita craze. 

The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation was created by “Mama” Ninfa Laurenzo in 1973 after the death of her husband, John. She started by grilling skirt steak and serving it in tortillas from her family’s struggling tortilla factory. The resulting dish – “Tacos al Carbon” (which later became known as “Fajitas”) was the basis for Mama Ninfa’s legend in Houston and in the history of Tex-Mex cuisine. Mama Ninfa passed away in 2001, and in 2005, Legacy Restaurants purchased The Original Ninfa’s. Since then, the Legacy team and Executive Chef Alex Padilla have restored, updated, and continue to improve The Original Ninfa’s. After more than 45 years in business, The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation is more popular than ever and still serves “The Best Mexican Food in Texas Since Texas was in Mexico!™” The restaurant has been featured numerous times on Food Network, including “Top 5 Restaurants: Best Mexican Food” and “Top 5: Tex Mex Faves”​. ​Its Queso Flameado, a cheese and chorizo casserole wrapped in handmade flour tortillas, served tableside, has been featured on Food Network’s “Old School: Best Thing I Ever Ate”. ​The Original Ninfa’s was named “Best Restaurant in Texas”​ by Southern Living in 2017 and is a James Beard award nominee.

 

In 1962, the Antone family opened Antone’s Import Company, a market that primarily catered to the area’s Syrian and Lebanese immigrants. Soon, however, all Houstonians developed a love for Antone’s products and original “Houston Po’ Boy” sandwiches. These unique sandwiches have been delighting generations of hungry Houstonians for decades. Legacy Restaurants took over Antone’s in 2006, and now operates a number of Antone’s restaurant locations. In addition, Antone’s fresh, hand-made sandwiches can be found in hundreds of grocery stores in southeast and central Texas.

More than five decades since its inception, Antone’s restaurant locations have evolved into a more traditional fast-casual concept with a broad variety of specialty hot and cold sandwiches, salads, gumbos, sides, and more. While we offer many different delicious dishes, we’ve never forgotten the history and tradition of this iconic Houston brand. The restaurant was included in “Houston’s Top 10 Sandwiches” by Houstonia Magazine, featured by Eater in “Epic Houston Sandwiches to Eat Before You Die”, and “Houston’s Best Sandwiches” by Houston Press.

 

 

In 1962, the Antone family opened Antone’s Import Company, a market that primarily catered to the area’s Syrian and Lebanese immigrants. Soon, however, all Houstonians developed a love for Antone’s products and original “Houston Po’ Boy” sandwiches. These unique sandwiches have been delighting generations of hungry Houstonians for decades. Legacy Restaurants took over Antone’s in 2006, and now operates a number of Antone’s restaurant locations. In addition, Antone’s fresh, hand-made sandwiches can be found in hundreds of grocery stores in southeast and central Texas.

More than five decades since its inception, Antone’s restaurant locations have evolved into a more traditional fast-casual concept with a broad variety of specialty hot and cold sandwiches, salads, gumbos, sides, and more. While we offer many different delicious dishes, we’ve never forgotten the history and tradition of this iconic Houston brand. The restaurant was included in “Houston’s Top 10 Sandwiches” by Houstonia Magazine, featured by Eater in “Epic Houston Sandwiches to Eat Before You Die”, and “Houston’s Best Sandwiches” by Houston Press.

A new fast-casual concept from Legacy Restaurants, Mama Ninfa’s Tacos y Tortas is now open at Understory in Downtown Houston. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. The hours of operation are Monday-Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 7 a.m. to midnight, Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit mamaninfastyt.com

Legacy Restaurants Corporate Executive Chef Alex Padilla created the menu for the new concept, adapting several recipes from The Original Ninfa’s. Diners are able to enjoy Original Ninfa’s fajita tacos, red and green salsas, and chile con queso, along with an innovative new menu of tacos and tortas.

About Us

NIEL MORGAN
Founder/Owner, Legacy Restaurants

Niel Morgan is the Founder and Owner of Legacy Restaurants, which owns and operates the iconic Original Ninfa’s on Navigation and Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys in Houston. He established Legacy Restaurants in 2006.

A longtime Houston resident, Morgan’s primary business career has been spent in real estate development and investment in Houston and Colorado. He was a partner in the creation and development of Park 10 in the Houston Energy Corridor and the developer of Wildcat Ranch in Aspen.

Recognizing the power and value of the well-established Ninfa’s and Antone’s brands, Morgan acquired ownership of both in 2006 when circumstances forced the founding families of the two restaurants to step aside. During his ownership, he has focused on enhancing the brands’ value by improving both the quality of the service and the food. The results have been substantial sales growth and increased customer loyalty for both concepts.

Morgan served as an officer in the U.S. Navy after receiving a Bachelor of Science from Georgia Tech University. He also received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University. His other entrepreneurial activities include co-founding the Houston Press.

ALEX PADILLA
Executive Chef, The Original Ninfa’s On Navigation

Alex Padilla is Executive Chef of Legacy Restaurants, overseeing the kitchen at Houston’s iconic The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation since 2006.

A native of Honduras, Padilla moved to Houston as a teenager in 1985. He was a student at Westfield High School when his mother, Maria, was hired by Mama Ninfa Laurenzo as a line cook at Ninfa’s – Padilla’s first exposure to a commercial kitchen.

In 1988 at age 19, Padilla moved to San Francisco and found work at L’Avenue restaurant under Nancy Oakes, one of America’s most celebrated chefs. Oakes, winner of three James Beard Foundation Awards, would become Padilla’s mentor as he worked by her side for the next 18 years.
Beginning as a dishwasher, Padilla quickly became an apprentice to Oakes and ultimately was trained by her to be a chef. By 1993, he became Executive Sous Chef at Boulevard, Oakes’ new American fine dining restaurant in San Francisco that was named Outstanding Restaurant in the United States by the Beard Foundation in 2012.

During his 20s, Padilla accompanied Oakes at culinary events all over the world, getting the chance to work alongside American culinary royalty including chefs Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Napa Valley), ​Traci Des Jardins (Jardinière, San Francisco​), Oakes’ husband ​Bruce Aidells (the “King of Sausages”, San Francisco), ​Susan Spicer (Bayona, New Orleans) and Emeril Lagasse (Emeril’s, New Orleans).

In 2006, Padilla returned home to become Executive Chef at The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation. He has applied his fine-dining training and techniques to the restaurant’s classic Tex-Mex menu, introducing innovative new dishes and improving historic recipes with improved ingredients, including fresh Gulf seafood and locally sourced produce from Houston and surrounding areas.

Padilla has been featured on numerous national television programs at The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, including ​Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise” in 2018 and “Man v. Food” in 2017 and Food Network’s “Top 5 Restaurants: Best Mexican Food”, “Top 5: Tex Mex Faves” and “Old School: The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. He was featured in February 2018 on ABC’s “The Chew”, where he won the show’s inaugural “Best Chef on the Block” competition against chefs from across the United States. Under Padilla’s watch, The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation was named “Best Restaurant in Texas” in a ​Southern Living​ readers’ poll in 2017.

1050 North Post Oak Road, Suite 200 | Houston, Texas 77055 | Phone 832.494.2670 | Fax 832.494.2675