In the far west corner of Texas sits El Paso, situated on the Mexican border. This location allows for a blending of culinary fare, with Tex-Mex cuisine leading the way. Legend even has it that the margarita was introduced here in the 1940s, and the city has a Margarita Trail to celebrate it.
Historic restaurants intermingle with El Paso houses for sale, culinary culture permeating all corners of the Sun City. There are many places to experience the culturally blended fare, to chow down on the likes of fajita bowls, queso, chili con carne, and other specialty dishes whipped up by talented chefs. Here are some of the very best:
L&J Cafe (3622 E. Missouri Avenue)
L&J Cafe opened in 1927 and is a cornerstone in the El Paso Tex-Mex scene. Originally named Tony’s Place, the restaurant went through an era of bootlegging and hidden slot machines post-prohibition, and in June of 1968, the name was changed to L&J Cafe. It’s now run by the family’s fourth generation and, on top of its stellar menu, sells its renowned red table salsa.
There is a variety of taco and flauta plates that include everything from deshebrada to potato fillings. Enchiladas and burritos can be ordered as well as burgers and sandwiches. Specialty Mexican dishes include Pollo en Salsa Espanola, chicken breast topped with salsa espanola and served with rice, beans, and tortilla; or Caldillo, a hearty stew with cubed beef, potato, onion, green chile, and cilantro topping.
Forti’s Mexican Elder Restaurant (321 Chelsea Street)
Forti’s opened in 1976 and is named after the Mexican Elder tree. Forti’s offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Start the day with Chilaquiles or Huevos Divorciados, two eggs served with salsa verde and salsa rojo. Appetizers include Ceviche and Chile Con Queso, and Rib Eye Steak Cocktail.
Other dishes include the specially breaded Steak Milanesa, Chicken Tampiquena served Borracho style (sauteed in tequila), and Camarones Consuelo, cheese-stuffed jumbo shrimp wrapped with bacon.
Lucy’s Restaurant (4119 N Mesa Street)
This family-owned business is now helmed by its third generation. It offers a $5 traditional Mexican breakfast, a traditional barbecue plate, and an array of tacos, burritos, and sandwiches.
Most notable is Lucy’s Famous Machaca Plate, shredded beef or chicken seasoned with tomatoes, onion, and egg smothered in Lucy’s own Chile Con Queso.
Chuy’s (8889 Gateway Boulevard West, Suite 1500)
Chuy’s has several locations throughout the United States, each marked by its bright décor. The dishes are a combination of flavors from across New Mexico, Mexican border towns, the Rio Grande Valley, deep South Texas, and beyond.
Nothing is ever frozen and always fresh, punctuated by hand-rolled tortillas and ten signature sauces made daily. They serve up Chuychangas, Mexi-Cobb Salad, and highly customizable Fajitas.
Chico’s Tacos (3401 Dyer Street)
Chico’s is best known for its rolled tacos that are covered in a soup-like tomato sauce – which sit on a menu right next to grilled cheese and hot dogs served on hamburger buns.
Chico’s is also well-known around town in general, and was hyped up the Food Network show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”