Jeff Frankel’s life in the restaurant business began with yogurt as a teen and has evolved into fajitas, enchiladas and tacos in adulthood.

The third restaurant in his Mattito’s chain opened in May 2022 at 2945 Long Prairie Road in Flower Mound.

Frankel, founder and owner of Mattito’s, said he wanted to bring high-end Tex-Mex cuisine to Flower Mound. His two other Mattito’s restaurants are in Dallas. He started Mattito’s in 1992 in Oak Lawn. There’s also a location at Forest Lane and I-75 in north Dallas.

The background

Frankel formulated starting a frozen yogurt shop on his 18th birthday. He crafted a business plan, got his family to cosign a note at the bank and had saved money from mowing lawns over the course of his high school years. Before the end of that summer, in 1980, he opened a frozen yogurt sandwich shop. Over the next 10 years, he was able to grow his yogurt shop into 35 yogurt sandwich shops in eight states. The first one was on Forest Lawn, close to where his Mattito’s is now located. He sold his company 10 years after he started it.

Frankel said he knew he always wanted to be involved in full-service restaurants, and he narrowed his choices to Mexican food and barbecue food, explaining he thought those were growth markets. He and his original partner selected Mexican food, as his partner was involved in the Tex-Mex restaurant business.

In choosing Flower Mound, he said he and partner Jim Lannom looked for a place where the restaurant would grow. The quality of neighborhoods also was a factor.

“We were certainly looking for a higher-end customer and people who can appreciate the quality difference,” Frankel said.

Zooming in

At Mattito’s, staff puts an emphasis on buying high-quality ingredients. Everything is made in small batches, fresh from scratch, multiple times a day, Frankel said.

“All of those things cost more, and therefore we want to make sure that the people we are offering this product to are able to discern that and have a more educated palette, and Flower Mound definitely fits that bill,” he said. “We want people who can appreciate the Mattito’s difference.”

Mattito’s stands out on a number of fronts, Frankel said. He said quality and product itself, but also the recipes the restaurant uses.

“The quality of the recipes, the quality of the sauces, the flavor profile that we have, and we haven't changed that over the course of our history,” he said. “I think that in of itself is a huge calling card. I think that when you eat at Mattito’s and you compare what we serve with other Tex-Mex places, we stand out every single time.”

The Sunday brunch from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. has also helped Mattito’s appeal, as it is a full-on buffet but “very high end,” one that a diner would see in a five-star hotel environment, Frankel said.

“It’s very price competitive for what it is,” he said.

Popular dishes at Mattito’s are chile rellenos, fajitas and Bob Armstrong dip, the last of which is off the menu and must be requested.

“Probably more people know us for that than anything else,” he said, noting the dip features a number of ingredients, including beef and chile con queso.

Mattito’s also serves Baja shrimp and a number of heart-healthy items. The restaurant is a place to gather for birthday celebrations, and Mattito’s has catering, bar service and banquet rooms.