By Kevin Collison
The Tenderloin Grill has relocated to the City Market after serving its namesake speciality, along with food including hamburgers and pig snoot sandwiches at 900 Southwest Boulevard for 90 years.
The new location takes over the space in the northeast corner formerly occupied by Taste of Brazil. As part of the transaction, Taste has shifted into another storefront nearby.
Kenny Kantner, a partner, said the venerable Tenderloin is the latest acquisition by Minsky’s Pizza, which has 18 locations including the City Market and also owns Eggctra and El Centro in the South Plaza.
The story of the Tenderloin Grill is a long, colorful one that includes being a longtime West Side favorite and the place where rookie cops fresh from the Police Academy were initiated by fellow officers by eating pig snoot sandwiches.
The business was opened by a Lebanese family in 1932 and later taken over by the Herrera family, according to Kantner. As members got older, many moved to Texas and the family hired someone to run it.
In early 2021, they closed the place.
Kantner, director of operations at Minsky’s and Greg Johnson, Minsky’s founder, learned about the opportunity to purchase the building from Angel Herandez, the manager of the Minsky’s Southwest Boulevard location.
“We got together and decided to purchase the building and the business,” he said. “It’s a place with more of a history in town than Minsky’s.”
The partners discovered however, that while the reputation of the Tenderloin Grill remained strong, it’s overall business was declining.
“We started noting that the people who used to patronize it weren’t around anymore,” he said. “It was hard because of Covid and there wasn’t the same lunch crowd from years ago.”
Because of the Minsky’s connection with the City Market, Kantner and his partners were approached by its management to see if they might want to locate the Tenderloin Grill or an Eggctra in the corner at 25 E. Third St. occupied by Taste of Brazil.
“We thought, let’s take one of the oldest restaurants to one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods,” Kantner said.
They completed the move in one week and opened only a week or so ago.
The menu includes their signature, battered tenderloin sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, a combo cheeseburger and tenderloin called the tenderger, hand-cut French fries, and for the curious–and rookie police officers–the pig snoot sandwich.
Kantner said alcoholic beverages including beer, drinks like frozen margaritas and high-end tequila and whiskeys will be available soon.
The Tenderloin Grill hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 10:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Friday through Sunday from 9:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Kantner couldn’t resist a pun about how their Minsky’s and Tenderloin Grill are across from one another in the City Market.
“We’ve cornered the Market,” he quipped.
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