10445 Innovation Drive
Dayton, OH 45342
A fun-loving, quirky concept out of Austin, Texas, the fast growing Chuy’s Tex Mex chain sort of explodes at you all at once as soon as you walk in. The mass of colors, hundreds of hand-painted fish on the ceilings, a shrine to Elvis, all of it greets you as you find your way to the bar or to a table. The flavors that greet you there are equally bold and loud. All told, I’m a huge fan of this concept and what it has to offer.
The spot flaunts a focus on fresh ingredients; veggies come every day, just about everything is chopped in house, and the freezer is only filled with ice cream and fish. Fresh makes all the difference in this concept, I think. Some of my favorite items on the menu:
- Fajitas: With vegetables chopped in house and topped with a meat of your choice, these fajitas are seared nicely to a nice medium temperature, then put atop fresh tortillas made in house. Hard not to have some to take home, but the food is just as good the next day.
- Nachos: What makes the nachos work, really, is that fresh guacamole. It’s a simple concoction of avocados with a little bit of seasoning and some lime to give it a nice citrus. The nachos are further topped with meat and refried beans on top. Fewer chips but each is loaded with more ingredients.
- Quesadilla: Simple idea, and the chicken variety is what I tried. But still I was impressed by the fresh tortilla and, again, the fresh cooked meat that makes the whole thing really come off nicely.
- Flautas: Just a little bit crispy. But the crunch and a little bit of mole sauce on top make these apps perfect to munch on, and even better dipped in some of that spicy sauce.
- Creamy Jalapeno Sauce: A secret menu item of buttermilk, cilantro, jalapenos and some other things. It’s good with literally everything. Order it by name and dip everything you can into it.
- Tortilla soup: A delicious appetizer of veggie soup with tortilla strips. That lime on the side adds a tad of zest!
- Tres leches cake: This distinctive style of cake is light and spongy with a great caramel and topped with strawberries for good measure. Delicious.
- Vodka Martini: A classic martini made better by fresh-squeezed lime juice that gives it character, with olives to garnish. Best when you sub Grey Goose for the house vodka.
- Sangria: A refreshing taste for this mixed drink, perfect during summer months and with an order of tacos or something crisp.
The service here is fantastic and the people are nice. The concepts like these have a tendency to attract spirited people — they’re doing something really interesting, and so it makes for an altogether pleasant experience. It makes sense to have only a few locations in each city. That way, Chuy’s feels more like a destination. And it definitely is. I recommend giving this spot a try, you’ll definitely find it a worthy experience.
- Most of the menu items have interchangeable ingredients of meats and sauces, so customize to your heart’s content.
- The Creamy Jalapeno Sauce is a secret menu item you have to order by name. Absolutely worth it though.
- Prices are pretty fair for this area, but you can certainly expect to take some food home with you, the portions are generous.