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.
For four decades, the cocina at Herrera's Restaurant has conjured up tasty Mexican vittles for belly-based fiestas. Wrap your tongue around a duo of beef burritos ($9.49), which bundle chili con carne and cheese within a flour-tortilla blanket, or the cheese enchilada, which rooms with a pair of meat-free cheese-taco twins ($8.49). On a different plate, one beef taco serves as the dividing line between two quarreling beef enchiladas, and a buffer of rice and beans ensures neither beef enchilada can leave the plate without hugging the other ($9.49).
Avila's Restaurant honors two family traditions, serving time-honored family recipes on a menu bursting at the seams with traditional, home-style Mexican and Texan dishes. Start your meal with nibbles of loco nachos, a beefy, beany, cheesy nacho plate topped with sour cream and guacamole ($9.95), or get your greens with a simple serving of guacamole ($3.95 small, $6.95 large). Brisket tacos ($10.95) and a chili relleno with cheese ($9.95), beef ($10.95), chicken ($10.95), or brisket ($11.95) inhabit Avila's list of specialties, and grilled savories such as Steak A La Mexicana, a 14-oz. rib-eye with sautéed onions, peppers, and Monterrey jack ($18.95), peacefully inhabit carnivorous belly forests. A menu of lunch specials is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (each entrée is $7.25), and aquas de limón y melon ($2 each) quench the thirst of two nations. Avila's is closed on Sundays.
7 Salsas augments its menu of Mexican fare with a rotating septet of homemade salsas—one served daily—and the always-available Big Red, the restaurant's signature picante sauce. Diners pique piquant palates with an order of fresh guacamole prepared tableside ($8.79) or with other appetizers, such as chicken-and-bacon quesadillas ($9.25). Seafood offerings include two soft or crispy fish tacos, each stuffed with tilapia, cabbage, and chipotle-avocado dressing ($8.99), and two enchiladas del mar, bursting with plump shrimp, topped with ranchera sauce, and endorsed by Poseidon's private chef ($9.99). For border-straddling bites, delve into a Tex-Mex concoction such as the hearty Cha-Cha chimichanga, a giant flour tortilla extensively trained in syncopated dance styles and stuffed with rice and either chicken or beef, then crowned with chile con queso ($8.59).