Photography by Kathy Tran.

Rodolfo Jimenez  collected thousands of Mexican wrestling masks and other memorabilia over 35 years.

When he and his wife, Zulma, decided to open a restaurant, they had a built-in concept around Jimenez’s extensive collection, which includes leather El Santo masks from the 1940s among dozens of wrestler-worn masks framed on the walls, many of them signed. 

Choosing a location for their restaurant took research.

Jimenez, a former actor and TV host, was living in California. But the couple, who opened Maskaras after marrying in 2016, chose Dallas because they found it was the fourth-biggest economy in the country. They settled in Plano but asked around: What is the biggest Mexican neighborhood in Dallas?

Again and again they heard Oak Cliff.

“They told us no one could last more than two or three months here, and we’ve been here two years and a half already,” Jimenez says of their Kiestwood location.

The Jimenezes are proud to serve the delicacies of their hometown, Guadalajara.

Tacos ahogados, “drowned tacos,” are pork carnitas inside red, green and yellow corn tortillas, deep fried, doused in red sauce and smothered with onions. Carne en su jugo, a Guadalajara specialty, is good for a hangover or a rainy day — soup with beef, bacon and beans. The menu includes street tacos and gourmet tacos, among them the popular “taco eclipse,” with steak, melted white cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream and avocado.

If that’s not Texan enough for you, Maskaras also brings Big Tex vibes with fried Oreos and fried Twinkies for dessert.

Maskaras serves beer and tequila drinks including palomas, made with Squirt soda, and cazuela de Guadalajara, tequila punch served in a clay cup. It’s a good place to hang out and watch a big soccer match, but it’s not a bar.

It’s kid friendly with wrestling masks that children — or just as likely, adults with Instagram accounts — can try on. The restaurant hosted a birthday party for a 3-year-old who is lucha-libre fanatical. Among the cute merchandise available are custom-made crocheted lucha dolls.

It all started with a Septiembre Negro mask that the late wrestler Vick Amezcua gave Jimenez as a child. His impressive collection is now on display for anyone to enjoy. The tacos are pretty good, too.

Maskaras Mexican Grill

2423 W. Kiest Blvd.

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, closed Sunday

Price range: $4-$12