Ever since Barbacoa Mexican Grill opened in 1998, ordering a meal has turned into a creative pursuit. At the fingertips of everyone who walks in the door is an edible artist's palette that they draw upon as they orchestrate the creation of their dream burrito, burrito bowl, or tacos. Inspiration begins with a foundation: hand-trimmed barbacoa beef slow cooked in a chipotle paste, shredded pork with roasted pineapple and a honey glaze, or even steamed vegetables. Then a rainbow of salsas, a choice of beans, and individually monogrammed grains of rice combine to create a fully personalized meal.
Now spread throughout Utah, Barbacoa Mexican Grill has also branched out beyond its inimitable meals. It strives to establish and strengthen communities by working with local nonprofit and charitable organizations. The primary focus of the restaurants' grassroots endeavors falls on the promotion of healthy, active lifestyles and the support of underserved children—evidenced by their cooperation with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah.
The crafty cooks at Pistol Pete’s infuse lives and entrees with the spice and flair of Mexico and the American Southwest. Diners prime peaked taste buds for main events with chips mingled in freshly made salsa ($2.98) before diving into an entree from the menu of Tex-Mex staples. Sizzling chicken or steak fajitas issue tableside pops and crackles reminiscent of fireside cooking or tap-dance recitals in active volcanoes ($9.99), and enchiladas ($7.48–$7.98) and tacos ($7.28–$7.58) combine toothsome meats and cheeses in styles including Nogales (traditional Mexican) and Arizona (southwestern). High-flying meals come in for a safely delicious landing on runways of homemade caramel flan ($2.87). The chefs at Pistol Pete’s prepare their own signature corn tortillas, made fresh on-site each day with the dough-clapping skills of a team of former professional applauders. Fare is complemented by the verdant offerings of a salsa bar stocked with a host of dressings all made from original recipes unique to Pistol Pete’s.
In business more than 30 years, La Frontera prepares an authentic menu of Mexican dishes using select ingredients, homespun recipes, and fresh hand-rolled tortillas. Kick off savory adventuring with chips and salsa made from scratch daily ($2–$2.50), or dive in with Frontera nachos, a mishmash of meat, veggies, beans, jalapeños, guacamole, and sour cream ($8.75). The chili platter boasts a lineup of red or green chili, beans, rice, salad, and two tortillas ($7.75), and the renowned chili verde, made fresh every morning, slathers savory cuts throughout the menu.
Though it's easy to see a lot of traditional Mexican dishes upon entering La Puente, the best dishes are the ones that aren't so easy to identify. That's because they're smothered in delicious sauces?specialties ranging from burritos and tacos to sirloin steaks come blanketed in a tempting helping of salsa, mole, cheese, or other savory concoctions. But not every dish is served smothered. Staff also grill shrimp for fajitas and craft steamy bowls of menudo, a Mexican breakfast delicacy. For dessert, the chefs make fried ice cream with a a combination of hot oil and a temporary cancellation of the laws of physics. Creamy horchata, icy virgin or alcoholic margaritas, and cold pours of domestic and import beers fill glasses to accompany the zesty flavors.
Terraces of tortillas tower over simmering mole, a special recipe that has been passed down for three generations, on tables in the 15-year-old eatery with a family atmosphere. Here, in Blue Iguana's kitchens, Chef Castillo imparts the culinary arts of the Aztec empire to his team of cooks using his knowledge of Chihuahua, Mexico. In this province, families fiercely guard such traditions to honor their forebears and preserve their culture's legacy for future generations. Castillo specializes in mole recipes, which teem with rich ingredients such as chocolate, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. Guests seeking a lighter meal can customize tacos with a choice of more than 10 fillings, including grilled yellowfin, charbroiled sirloin, sautéed mushrooms, and spicy pork chorizo. The margaritas are mixed with the restaurant's brimming top-shelf tequilas such as Patron Silver and Don Julio. Diners can also visit the Park City location for breakfast dishes.
Nacho's Libre Mexican Restaurant taps into traditional Mexican culture through a varied menu of seafood and meat dishes wrapped in tortillas and paired with imported beers. After entering through the bright-pink façade, guests take in the dining room’s paintings and servers occasionally clad in a Mexican luchador’s traditional mask, cape, and Van Halen T-shirt. Chefs craft mole sauce in 10 variations of chilies, spices, and chocolate, and diners can create their own platter combinations of burritos, enchiladas, and chimichangas. Nacho's Libre also slings fare for quick delivery as well as catering for parties, meetings, and ocean-liner christenings.