Chuy’s, pronounced ‘chewies,’ is officially part of the Northeast Florida food scene. An Austin, Texas favorite, this restaurant serves large portions of Tex-Mex fare.
The much-beloved chain has a fun atmosphere. The décor is rather awesome, too. My favorite? A sign that reads, “Bring in a framed photo of your dog & get a free appetizer.” So snap a pic of your pooch and bring it in!
As soon as you’re seated, a friendly waiter whisks out the salsa and chips. ASAP. Trust me: You’ll devour the light, freshly fried, salty tortilla chips right away. Fear not, though–here’s another server with a giant scooper of more crunchy treasures to fill the basket.
Time for that margarita. Put Chuy’s at the top of your margarita fix list. There are lots of options, but I dug the Texas Martini, one helluva marg served in a martini glass, with jalapeño-stuffed olives. The extra fun part? Instead of a pitcher, you get a shaker–you pour your own drink.
Spice-lovers, if you’re looking for a tingle in the taste buds, Chuy’s is the spot. Seems like everything, from the complimentary salsa to the multitudes of house sauces, is hella spicy and made in-house, a major plus. Try them all on a “sauce tour.”
One of Chuy’s many claims to fame are the housemade flour tortillas. There’s even a tortilla viewing area, where you watch them shape the dough, throw it on the griddle and fill your tortilla warmer with a stack all your own.
If you’re new to Chuy’s, then the Appetizer Plate ($11.29) is a good option. You get all the usuals, like chile con queso and guac, plus tasty options like loaded nachos, deluxe quesadillas and chicken flautas.
If you’re a burrito fiend, check out the Big as Yo’ Face Burritos. I went with Roasted Chicken ($10.49), which is stuffed in a 12-inch flour tortilla with refried beans, cheese and a choice of meat (bean, ground sirloin, roasted chicken, fajita beef or fajita chicken). Pick a sauce to ladle on top, name your level of spice, from Ranchero (mild) to Boom Boom (medium) to Hatch Green Chili (ultra spicy)–and more in between. Warning: The rice brings heat, too.
Chuy’s fajita meats are marinated for 24 hours in a signature marinade which, I’m told, is a blend of Shiner Bock beer, serrano peppers, lime and top-secret spices. This is a big plate of food, but if you and your co-conspirator are fajita-lovers, try the “For Two” option–both bellies will be full. We ordered the Fajita Combo with both chicken and beef ($14.99/$27.89). The meats were tender and did well, bite-for-bite, in a tortilla. The fajitas include all the fixings you want for the perfect bite: a giant guac bowl filled with sour cream, cheese and pico de gallo and a tureen of rice and beans.
If you need a Tex-Mex fix, Chuy’s has the goods.