Seasoned staffers wheel a small cart directly up to dining room tables, where they smash avocados into a palatable paste of fresh guacamole right before guests' eyes. This appetizer fuels treks through Cinco de Mayo Amigos Cantina's lengthy menu, which spotlights Mexican favorites infused with authentic ingredients such as pork carnitas, carne asada, and spicy mole sauce. The restaurant's exposed brick walls house weeknight karaoke, as well as other weekly events including Salsa Night on Saturday, Ladies' Night on Thursday, and Day Planner Appreciation Night on Tuesday. On the outdoor patio, guests can get their fill of fresh air and sunshine as they sample 20 varieties of margaritas.
Started in 1964 in Yermo, California, the Del Taco quick-serve restaurant chain now spans 17 states with over 530 stores, speedily serving south-of-the-border fare along with hearty American burgers. All menu items are made-to-order using fresh ingredients, such as freshly-grated cheddar cheese, homemade salsa, slow-cooked beans, and marinated grilled chicken. Several variations of tacos cradle meats such as chicken, steak, and crispy fish between flatbread or corn tortillas, and burritos range from the small, intimate half-pound bean and cheese to the meaty Macho style, which refuses to ask for directions on road trips. Signature sauces, such as Del Inferno, Del Scorcho, or Mild sauce may be smothered onto any menu item for added zest. A drive-through hands out cheesy quesadillas throughout the late-night hours, passing the time until the sunrise's yellow, orange, and red hues announce its hunger for breakfast, which is served all day, including biscuit and muffin sandwiches, and breakfast burritos filled with eggs, cheese, sausage, or bacon.
Jesus Angel became a restaurateur by happenstance. Working for nearly 30 years in the auto industry, Jesus drew crowds of coworkers at lunchtime that clamored to sample the Guadalajara native's Mexican dishes. Intrigued, he hit the streets and toted his food to local festivals, steadily building a following that would propel him into a second career. Today, El Camino Real spans three locations across Northwest Ohio. In addition to the menu of dishes from his homeland, Jesus's restaurants draw patrons with citrusy margaritas, live mariachi bands on weekends, and patios and dining rooms decked out with Spanish tile work and atomic clocks set to the Mayan calendar. These features have earned El Camino Real a place on Toledo City Paper's Best of 2011 list.
El Tipico is a 42-year-old family-run establishment that prepares handmade Mexican cuisine fresh daily using pure vegetable oil, real Mexican spices, and family recipes (entrees are $6.95 to $19.95). To lick a Mexican-cuisine rainbow, try a combination platter such as the #1 Mexican Dinner, which includes a beef-tip burrito, cheese enchilada, taco, tostado, rice, and beans. The El Tipico nachos––composed of nacho chips topped with cheese, onions, jalapeños, beans, guacamole, ground beef, chicken, sour cream, and tomatoes––could be a hearty starter or a disguised main course. For dessert, the Sweet Chimi, a deep-fried, strawberry-filled flour tortilla rolled in cinnamon and sugar and topped with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry, will satisfy the ravenous cravings of your mouth's most ambitious sweet tooth.
Back in the 1950s, Ramond Tejada, Sr. and his dad, Alfred, introduced the town of Taylor to its first taste of Mexican cuisine, serving family-recipe tamales, tacos, and tostadas from a drive-in they called the Matador. Though the original founders are long gone, the family legacy lives on in the restaurant's current incarnation, where the fourth generation of Tejada restaurateurs serve sizzling fajita plates, meaty Texas-style chili, and tapas of mini-tacos and guacamole dip. The menu spans across Mexican and American culinary landscapes, with homey bowls of menudo and breakfasts of chorizo and eggs served alongside beer-battered cod, fried chicken, and 1/3-pound hamburgers. Guests can also revel during weekly special events, such as exhibitions by balloon artist Andrew Grosjean or Monday margarita nights featuring buy-one, get-one half off. Birthday revelers will indulge in shared botana appetizer on their special day along with free fried ice cream if they join the email club.
Good Morning Holland's menu of morning and midday eats combines Mexican and American flavors. The western omelette tucks ham, onions, bell peppers, and cheese under an egg blanket ($6.50); sweetened milk soaks caramel-filled mexican pancakes ($4.25–$5.50); and powdered sugar snows atop the crests of coffee-cake french-toast sticks ($3.99–$5.50). Bring a piquant punch to the palate with traditional Mexican-style eggs and chilaquiles, deep-fried corn tortillas soaked in spicy sauces ($5.50–$7.50), or wrap hands around the burrito sancho, a tortilla purse filled with ground beef, chicken, refried beans, and more ($6.99).