With seven shops around Chicago, Taco Fresco is a quick, cheap and convenient place to grab classic favorites in Tex-mex cuisine. It’s cheap and convenient, but there’s another twist to the food: It’s healthy. Where most places fry food, Taco Fresco boils and bakes. They prefer lean meats, plenty of vegetables, and can substitute low fat cheese and fat free black beans. With those kinds of benefits, this place is sure to have a dedicated following. All told, it’s great, but the food sacrifices something in terms of flavor.
Right along Wilmington Pike in Kettering, Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant is a simple Tex Mex establishment at the intersection of several major suburbs in Dayton’s southeastern edge. There are a lot of restaurants around here, but as far as Hispanic-centered cuisine goes, there isn’t a lot of competition. Pepito’s has a festive and simple atmosphere, with nice people. Pepito’s seems to have a particularly excited fan base, and the restaurant seems particularly successful at energizing and attracting customers online and on social media.
For about 10 years, New Young Chow Restaurant has been a staple of the Chinese food scene in Springboro, Ohio. In a town which has seen immense growth and a lot of other Chinese places set up shop, this place has weathered competition extremely well. With three competitors within a few miles (including one across the street) New Young Chow has picked a niche: fast takeout and the addition of a Japanese menu that serves, among other things, fresh sushi. New Young Chow is one of my favorite places for Chinese food.
Another more recent addition to the Athens restaurant lineup, Gran Ranchero opened in February 2010 as the second franchise of a restaurant based in Parkerberg, West Virginia. Owner Emanuel Morales, one of five owners of the chain, told reporters he opened his second restaurant in Athens after so many people drove from there to Parkersburg just for the food. I’m convinced this place has attracted quite a following, but I’m not sure I’m about to join the flock.
Right off Interstate 75, Cazadores Mexican Restaurant in Franklin is one of three restaurants in a small chain along the highway’s southern Ohio corridor. The small restaurant offers an atmosphere for all ages, with areas for large parties, families, couples, and a bar. The menu is full of standard tex-mex fare with a number of specialties to choose from.
Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant has the distinction of being one of few tex-mex offerings within walking distance of downtown Athens. Run by a small group of Hispanic people, Rio Grande serves typical dishes as well as a variety of margaritas and other drinks.
The Salty Iguana is a small 5-restaurant chain of tex-mex food based around Kansas City, Missouri. Sorry, adventurous eaters, they do not serve iguana. The chain’s comical theme includes iguana artwork covering the walls of the eateries.
La Piñata is a small chain of so-called “Tex-Mex” restaurants currently encompassing three locations in the south Dayton-north Cincinnati area. It serves a variety of traditionally tex mex dishes featuring a lot of beef, chicken, and shrimp. I’ve been eating at this place for years and I have literally never found something on the menu I didn’t love.