Photography by Jessica Turner.

John McBride grew up in the Mexican restaurant industry. El Vecino, his latest venture in our neighborhood, is only the most recent in a long line of family successes.

McBride’s great-grandfather was El Fenix founder Miguel Martinez. Well-versed in Tex-Mex cuisine, McBride worked in New York for 15 years operating Rosa Mexicana, where he met chef Carlos “Charley” Cid in 1991.

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Cid and McBride have been joined at the hip since. 

When John returned to Dallas in 2004 to rejoin El Fenix, Cid came with him. Later, Cid ran the neighborhood restaurant The Lot with McBride. 

When The Lot closed after its building was sold to a real estate developer, McBride had his eye on White Rock Shopping Center at Northcliff and Buckner, with the idea of starting a Mexican restaurant there.

“I always knew I wanted to get back into the Mexican food business,” he says. “It’s a super loyal neighborhood that’s been wanting places for a long time.”

In 2017, El Vecino opened its doors with Kim McBride, John’s wife, running the restaurant and Cid in the kitchen. 

Their aim for the environment was “Mexican comfortable,” which is also reflected in the food they offer.  

The menu boasts a mix of modern Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican food. There are traditional dishes such as cochinita pibil and classic Tex-Mex staples, such as six types of enchiladas. Contemporary twists also are available, such as the lasana Mexicana de pollo, an inventive Mexican-style lasagna. Many menu items are an ode to McBride’s time at Rosa Mexicana.

El Vecino’s personal touches are impossible to miss. Kim McBride seasonally changes out a wreath in front of every booth. The menu features a favoritos de la familia section, where each member of the McBride family (as well as Cid) presents one of their personal favorites. Brightly colored oil cloth lines the booths, and giant letters that spell “Hola!” on the wall are inside the front door. 

“When you walk in you feel happy automatically, and you feel fantastic when you walk out,” Kim McBride says. 

El Vecino, 718 N. Buckner Blvd., 469.802.6060