(From our archives) I think my favorite three-word phrase of endorsement for restaurant is not “Credit Cards Accepted,” but rather “Open since 19XX,” with the “XX” has to be (my criteria) at least thirty years ago – forty or fifty is even better.
Chico’s Tacos in El Paso (4 locations) is one of those places, dating back to 1953. Chico’s reminds me of a similar haunt of mine, “Lucy’s,” (now “Cinco de Mayo”) in Los Angeles.
Both establishments offer a very basic Mexican / American menu at very low prices. Lucy’s menu has more on offer and is open 24 hours; Chico’s does the volume, and the tables are packed, and long lines persist at the ordering counter every hour they are open.
The “big attraction” at Chico’s is their “famous” rolled tacos at three for a buck. In other Americanized Mexi diners, Chico’s rolled tacos might be called “taquitos,” as they are short, tubular, stuffed tortillas fried, and bathing in a shallow cardboard dish of salsa, and covered with a mound of shredded cheese.
They are served with an accompanying cup of green fiery salsa, and other than I couldn’t figure out any delicate way (and I am SO delicate) to eat them (do I plunge my fingers into the bowl, or do I stab them whole with my plastic fork?) they were deliciouso!
Chico’s “other” specialty is the beef stew burrito, also for $1.00, chunks of beef simmered in sauce, sautéed potato cubes rolled in a flour tortilla.
The menu is rounded out with jumbo cheeseburgers (I see these in most of the Mexican lunch counters I go to) and they were the most expensive things on the menu, at $1.39.
Chico’s patrons last night either really liked the food or were buying for their entire neighborhoods, because sales I saw rung up ranged from $30 – $50.
Obviously, I under-ordered.
My bill was $3.38, including lemonade.