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.
Dayton is home to a ton of locally owned little Tex Mex food chains, and Las Piramides Mexican Restaurant with two locations north and south of the city is one of them. The spot serves up your prototypical Mexican food fare in a large interior sit down environment. The popularity is clear with the locals, because these spots have been open for years and they keep their guests coming back, especially during the lunch hour. Las Piramides has some great specialties, and while the menu doesn’t do a huge amount of innovating it’s still a pretty safe choice for food.
The development of the Pickerington area east of Columbus has brought it a huge number of new and proper restaurants, with most of them catering to suburban sensibilities of simplicity and reasonable prices. La Fogata Grill, a stop just off I-70, offers Tex Mex favorites and the works in a bar and grill setting that typifies rest of the neighborhood. It’s one of two locations for the chain, the other being closer to downtown Columbus. The food I tried was good and overall the spot was a positive experience.
You won’t be in Dayton for very long before you hear the name “El Meson.”
Indeed, the expansive West Carrollton restaurant south of the city along the Interstate 75 corridor is one that’s hard to forget even after one visit. Not just for its colorful and vibrant interior decoration, but for the equally large menu of tapas and other dishes that can’t be found on any other menu in the city. In short, El Meson has long been considered a unique option in the city — one of the few places you can really go for something different. Even with the influx of new restaurant concepts, this spot continues to deliver.
Adobe Gila’s is a small but far-flung chain of four restaurants in Dayton, Columbus, Chicago, Illinois and Orlando, Florida. With the eccentric theme of a large salamander climbing on the roof, Adobe Gila’s is an upscale bar with numerous specials and activities from trivia night, 50 cent drafts and themed parties all nights of the week. Aside from a sizable menu of drink specials and draft beers, Adobe Gila’s also has a mixture of bar foods and tex-mex dishes. Wings and burgers served alongside quesadillas and burritos. It makes for a very unusual experience; few bars have such a menu and a theme.