Tony, the owner of Bandido’s Mexican Cafe, learned the tricks of the trade while working at his family’s Mexican restaurant as a teenager. Today, he and his wife own and operate three Bandido’s locations, which serve sizzling fajitas, crisp tacos, and burritos stuffed with beef, chicken, pork, or sautéed spinach. The Herald-Sun's readers praised Bandido's as the Best Mexican Restaurant in 2009, and the restaurant returns the favor by awarding individuals who finish the El Gigante burrito—a massive compilation of steak and chicken fajitas, rice, black beans, and shredded cheese—with a T-shirt and gentle pats on the back. The restaurant often hosts live entertainment, and the Durham location supplements its selection of lunch and dinner fare with a Sunday brunch menu served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
K Panchos Mexican Restaurant offers hearty south-of-America fare in a cozily homey atmosphere. Head in on a lunch break to try one of many lunch specials, such as the Speedy Gonzales, which places one taco and one enchilada on a flavorful foodbed of either spanish rice or fried beans ($4.99). Steak or chicken fajitas seamlessly synthesize tender meats and freshly fired veggies ($10.50), and 27 combination dinners provide an endless matrix of subtly spiced suppers. Vegetarian options, such as two salsa-topped bean burritos with cheese dip ($7.25), abound for meat-avoiding plantavores, and K Panchos’ friendly, helpful staff can also help you decide on an entree, name for your dog, or high-altitude wedding venue.
Before he started building houses, Padgett Construction & Remodeling LLC owner Stan Padgett constructed a crew of talented builders who boast 50 years of combined experience. Specialists in commercial remodeling, Stan and his team are also known around town, and as far away as Texas, for their work rebuilding structures damaged by storms. When not busy with projects such as building new retirement homes, the crew keeps their skills sharp by providing in-home repairs and other everyday home-improvement tasks ranging from electric work and plumbing services, to the cleaning of gutters clogged with leaves or missing pool noodles.
The chefs at Flying Burrito cultivate a spicy menu of mouth-watering Southwestern cuisine. The freighter of rolled cuisine, known as the flying burrito, swoops onto tables with a cargo-load of hand-pulled beef, pinto beans, salsa, melted cheese, sour cream, green onions, lettuce, and tomato ($7). Juan's avocado ensalada leads leafy compatriots to victory with fresh ahi tuna or shrimp, and avocado, red peppers, tomato, green onions, queso fresco, and mixed greens served in a flour tortilla shell with lemon-cilantro vinaigrette or jalapeño ranch dressing ($9). The crispy fried-fish tacos accommodate two flour or corn tortillas slathered in yucatan slaw, habanero mayo, lettuce, and tomato ($7), and the Azteca enchiladas sing a vegetarian ballad of broccoli, zucchini, squash, carrots, melted cheese, black beans, mashed sweet potatoes, and a choice of red mole or spicy vegetarian green chili ($8). Stodgy palates receive a wakeup call when confronted with the sweet burrito⎯-a fried, cheesecake-filled tortilla topped with cinnamon, sugar, chocolate syrup, and two scoops of vanilla ice cream ($5).
Just as Thomas Edison stumbled through useless prototypes of light bulbs and movie cameras before perfecting the phonograph, the alchemists at Qdoba Mexican Grill took 47 attempts before landing on the franchise's signature blend of three cheeses, known simply as queso. That attention to detail still pervades every aspect of the menu, as employees spend hours each day chopping, dicing, and simmering the fresh ingredients that find their way into burritos, taco salads, and grilled quesadillas. Beyond the marinated bites of chicken, beef, and pork and hand-crafted tortillas, cooks protect their ripe, fragile avocados from harm by smashing them into batches of fluffy guacamole.
Voted Best New and Mexican/Latin American Restaurant in Durham County by Indy Week readers in 2010, Dos Perros uses locally farmed ingredients to achieve the authenticity of traditional Mexican taquerias. Chicharrón chasers can start by diving into a sweet potato empanada with chipotle fig sauce ($6-$7) and cheese-and-jalapeno-stuffed plantain fritters with Oaxacan cream and salsa ($6-$7). From the lunch menu, the carnitas tacos ($2.50 per taco) beckon beaks with twice-cooked pork, chipotle, and tasty tomatillos, while the dinner menu unveils a tequila-and-lime-marinated hanger steak ($18) accompanied with potato-poblano gratin, greens, and habanero relish, or vegetarian chile relleno with black bean puree ($12). Proving that jack-o-lanterns are indeed insufficient disguises for winged animals, the duck enchiladas ($15) boast tender bites of bird slathered in pumpkin seed sauce and served with heirloom shell beans and rice.