I’m no stranger to Tex-Mex.
My father, raised in Houston, was always on the lookout for good Tex-Mex during our family’s twenty-year stay in Northern Virginia, and our summer vacations to visit family in Houston and in Dallas always led us from one Tex-Mex place to another.
My first visit to Mercado Juarez was with my family during orientation, and this restaurant has been a mandatory stop every time my parents have come to visit. The place was an old favorite of theirs: My mom was accustomed to this restaurant when she was a kid and later on when she was dating my father. Though in that time the mercado at Mercado Juarez has closed, the food has apparently retained its quality.
The inside has a fairly comfortable atmosphere: never too loud, the tables are spread out well – you definitely won’t feel claustrophobic here.
My number one reason to go here is the free chips and salsa. The salsa is not too hot, but it does have a great tomato taste, which oddly seems to be a rare find in the world.
Get an appetizer and some margaritas, which are well known from what I’ve heard, and you’ve got a pretty good night. The dinner prices range from $10 to $15, with lunch prices from $7 to $9 and happy hour before 7 p.m. The fajitas are my favorite, but if you’re a fan of tamales, they do them well. There’s a full menu online, so check it out if you’re on the fence.
If you’re looking for a comfortable place to relax with friends and to take a break from studying, or if you want Mexican food and are willing to spend a few dollars more than you would at Chipotle, head up Loop 12, then take a left on Northwest Highway, and the place you’re looking for will be on your right.