Spain’s famous Jamón Ibérico store chooses Dallas for its first U.S. location
Enrique Tomas, the largest purveyor of cured jamón ibérico (Iberian ham), will open a two-story restaurant, bar and store on Henderson Avenue this fall. The 37-year-old Barcelona-based company has more than 150 shops, mostly in Spain. The Dallas location will be its first in the U.S., joining London, Paris, Rome and Mexico City among 50 international outposts.
Jamón ibérico, Spain’s highest quality of cured ham, is produced from the native Iberian black pig, also known as pata negra. The ham is prized for its buttery richness, thanks to the breed’s tendency toward obesity. Jamón ibérico boasts its own Denominación de Origen and is distinct from jamón serrano, a Spanish cured ham made from white pigs.
Varieties of jamón ibérico are categorized according to the pig’s lineage and diet during its final months, ranging from all acorn to grain or a combination of the two. Besides several jamón ibérico styles, Enrique Tomas will sell jamón serrano with a Gran Reserva designation, made from high quality white pigs and cured for a much longer period than the typical serrano ham.
The Dallas Enrique Tomas location will have a more modern look and focus than the traditional stores in Spain, says Ricardo Sieveking, a Dallas businessman who together with Joel Verges manages the company’s North American expansion.
“The concept started in Spain as a store with a few tables and a limited menu. Like the Paris and London stores, we will give the restaurant more prominence, but the store will be at the entrance,” he says.
Sieveking and Verges say the new Enrique Tomas will strive to educate customers about jamón ibérico, emphasizing its distinctiveness from other cured hams, like prosciutto.
“When you try prosciutto, you say, ‘That’s good.’ But when you try ibérico ham, you almost cry,” Verges says.
The Dallas store hopes to win fans through tasting events, pairing its hams with wines, cavas, mezcals and sherries, as well as other foods.
Besides ham – hand sliced to order by trained jamoneros (ham slicers) or packaged – the store will also sell a variety of Spanish cheeses, olives and chorizo to-go. “You can sample the ham, and buy as little or as much as you want. If you buy a whole pata [leg] for a party, we will send a jamonero to cut it, free of charge,” Sieveking says.
“One of the experiences of eating this ham is it melts in your mouth, even on your fingers. If it’s cut too thick, you lose that experience and the authenticity of the jamon,” Sieveking says.
Enrique Tomas will bring in experienced cutters from Spain to train the staff and will offer customers ham-cutting classes.
The ground-level, 76-seat restaurant will feature a long bar where you can order ham, tapas and drinks, including Spanish gin and tonics and craft cocktails. The dinner menu will include steak-like cuts of pork, including ibérico secreto, which is prized for its marbling. Upstairs, a 76-seat, Ibiza-inspired lounge will feature live music, DJs and late-night hours on weekends.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun, a cool new place with the authenticity of Spanish food,” Sieveking says.
Construction of the new Enrique Tomas location is currently underway at the Henderson Avenue site formerly occupied by Mesero restaurant, at 2822 N. Henderson Ave. Sieveking is targeting an opening date in late October. Prices start at $23 a pound for jamón serrano and $75 a pound for jamón ibérico.