From the moment you pull up, it’s not hard to tell that Don Juan’s Romantic Mexican Food opened in 1966. A certain brand of flashy midcentury Americana lights up every inch of the stucco building, declared a Grand Prairie Significant Landmark by the city's historical commission. Hand-painted signs—one shaped like a gargantuan sombrero—advertise “luncheons” and “dinners.” The menu hasn’t changed much, either: for more than 45 years, the cooks have been making chili, hot sauce, guacamole, and many other ingredients from scratch using the same recipes the founder perfected when the restaurant first opened. Tacos, burritos, and tamales join Tex-Mex favorites such as enchiladas, chili con queso, and taco salad in a deep-fried shell. For dining on the go or on the lam, the restaurant sports a drive-thru (one of the first in town) in addition to a robin’s-egg-blue counter with matching swivel stools.
Rodriguez's fresh-baked "pan dulce" includes Mexican sweets such as cinnamon cookies, fruit-filled turnovers, gingerbread cookies, and vanilla-flavored azucarado pastries. Earning acclaim for its dinner fare as well, the restaurant's house-made tortillas are so popular they're sold in sold in dozens of grocery stores across Oregon and Idaho?perfect for shoppers looking to make their own tacos or replace an old mousepad.
When their family business closed, the Ortegas imported ingredients and machinery straight from their native Argentina, set up a small kitchen, and took their Buenos Aires-inspired products on the road aboard a brand new food truck based out of Global Bakery, in Irving. Their flaky pastries brim with beef, chicken, pulled pork, ham and cheese, and spinach fillings and bear a unique, baked-in pattern, creating ideal handheld meals available straight from the food truck’s window. As they add the variety of fillings, they imprint each pastry with a specific pattern, allowing customers to keep different flavors separate without interrogating their empanadas under a fast-food heat lamp.
The tamales at Danals Mexican Restaurant are so popular that some regulars place bulk orders days in advance. But the tender, husk-wrapped snacks aren't the only reason to visit this 25-year-old Irving eatery. The restaurant's cooks are experts when it comes to crafting Michoacan-style carnitas, seafood ceviches, and other Mexican staples. Specialty margaritas and micheladas pair beautifully with each fresh, piquant dish, and desserts such as flan give folks a way to get rid of the bitter taste that comes from saying "Beetlejuice" three times. To nail down the authenticity, brightly colored walls and murals line the restaurant's interior, creating a colorful, happy ambience.
While El Tizoncito’s simple storefront will fool you with its fast food setting and lull of bright lights, inside the shop is quite serious about their authentic Mexico City cuisine. Located in the heart of Oak Cliff, the small operation shares a building with a bank, and offers on-the-go eaters a drive-thru for speedy service. But really, it’s best to sit inside the diminutive and sparse shop, soaking up the black bean soup and taking in as many street tacos as you can handle. Popoular drinks include hibiscus tea and horchata, along with fresh-made chips or a salty, grilled fried cheese known as chicharron de queso. The food is always fresh, and you shouldn’t skip on the sweet Mexican desserts, either.