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.
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.
A stone bowl cradles the molcajete at Los Dos Gallos, which includes not just grilled steak, but also chicken and shrimp. Pico de gallo lends zest to this dish as well as other specialties, such as carnitas simmered in a tomatillo sauce, or classics such as tacos and burritos. House margaritas and ice-cold horchata ameliorate any heat from the food and act as salves in case of sunburn.
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.