More than 40 years ago, Charlie and Mary Garcia founded El Chaparral Mexican Restaurant to share their culinary heritage with the local community. Though the business has now been passed down to the next generation of the family, the restaurant adheres to the made-fresh recipes of its early days, delighting diners with hearty enchiladas, fresh seafood dishes, and its signature bean soup.
Sandra Arias was only 12 years old when her family first arrived on American soil. Her parents opened Tink-A-Tako to serve authentic tacos, enchiladas, and Mexican specialties, establishing a legacy that would grow across two decades to 11 locations throughout San Antonio. Today, Sandra, her brothers, and her sister still oversee the kitchens, directing culinary crews as they stuff savory meats into homemade tortillas, adorn enchiladas with a selection of different sauces, and simmer up the chilaquiles. Out in the dining areas, colorful Mexican artwork, ornamental chili peppers, and an absence of Canadian flags give off an authentic Mexican feel. Many locations also boast full bars, outdoor patios, and drive-thru windows.
The cooks at Orderup focus on the classics: burgers, fries, and shakes. Wielding hand-pressed patties, they craft signature burgers such as the La Bomba, which comes with cheddar, bacon, and a fried egg on a buttered bun, or versions with chicken, pork, and fish. The menu also showcases more than 10 shake flavors, including Mexican vanilla, banana, and nutella. Sides of honey-coconut sweet potato fries or serrano cheese fries round out a meal.
For more than 70 years, Teka Molino has been elating estómagos with tasty Tex-Mex cuisine. Instead of stuffing their socks with potpourri, the mouth-pleasing proprietors keep things fresh by cooking and grinding corn daily to make their masa—dough used for tortillas, chips, and tacos. Taste-drive some masa with a specialty such as the guacamole cup, bean cup, cheese cup, or fried-cheese taco ($1.45 each). Two flautas, chili con queso, a bean cup, fried cheese, and rice congregate in the Teka Treat ($8.59), and beef, chicken, beans, or guacamole rests on a soft bed inside the puffy tacos like a camper in a sleeping bag made of Twinkies ($7.15).
Taco Palenque, a southern Texas chain that has expanded to 14 locations, dishes out authentic Mexican fare with a menu of artfully crafted favorites. Their specialty fajita plate slings a mouthwatering medley of rice, beans, and tortillas adorned by one of seven delectable salsas ($10.99). Chicken quesadillas ($4.39), enchiladas ($7.99), and soups sate hearty appetites all day, and early-morning risers and those allergic to sleep can enjoy a variety of breakfast tacos and plates, such as chilaquiles ($4.99) and huevos rancheros ($4.49).
Tacos—landing strips for lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and other suspiciously vegetable-like things—might seem natural candidates for health food, but most Tex-Mex preparations aren’t that great for the heart or waistline. That Taco Shop, on the other hand, fills its fare with both healthful ingredients and bold flavor, thanks to its roots in traditional, authentic Mexican food. A trip south of the border inspired the owners to open a shop drawing on the healthy, old-fashioned, fresh foods they found in Central Mexico. There, centuries of tradition encourage a reliance on quality ingredients and a passion for food that That Taco Shop emulates with an American flair. They use only high-quality, fresh ingredients, including Oaxaca cheese, Mexican crema, and vegetarian refried beans. The open kitchen means you can see for yourself that no That Taco Shop taco ever arrives on premises preassembled.