Chuy’s Tex-Mex

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.

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Los Reyes

There are a lot of small, independent Tex-mex chains around the Dayton area, and Los Reyes is nestles in a strip mall just off Dorothy Lane in Kettering. It’s got a basic layout familiar to so many like it – a little bar in the back serves margaritas as a big dining room has space for groups big and small, and a sizable menu for various favorites in the Tex-mex repertoire. The food is a good basic iteration of tis genre but other than that I struggle to find anything about it worth a return trip.

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Puerto Vallarta

A little tex-mex setup serving the city of New Albany near Louisville, Puerto Vallarta is a little corner shop serving Mexican food to River City’s northern suburbs, with several locations around the city. The interior look is pretty typical of a tex-mex place in the Midwest; looks like a pinata vomited all over the place with a mess of colors and images. The food though, is pretty simple. Made to be cheap and quickly eaten, Puerto Vallarta is exactly the meal you’re picturing in your mind when you think of all discount tex-mex food; no more, no less.

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El Toro

El Toro is a pretty well-regarded Dayton chain, with nine locations up and running right now. It serves good stuff aplenty, offering fast and economical tex-mex cuisine for people all over town. It’s a convenient choice and one is always nearby in this city, but for one reason or another I never managed to try it before now. I’m never one to turn down Hispanic cooking of any flavor — in fact it might be my favorite food to write about. It’s high time I gave the place a try, and it was really very good.

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Fiesta Mariachi

As a chain of three restaurants serving the southwest Columbus region, Fiesta Mariachi Mexican Restaurant sports a lively decor and a fairly typical set of dishes for a tex-mex type of place. For all of the decor, it’s not an especially different location from everything I’ve seen in other similar restaurants. Fiesta Mariachi seems focused on making the same things as everyone else, but better. It’s got little competition in the area as far as other tex-mex places go, but I don’t think there’s a whole lot about this place you’ll find especially different.

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