Remember when Tex-Mex lunch specials cost $6 or $7?
That’s still the price at the family-owned Chuy’s Mexican Restaurants, now open at a new location in east Fort Worth.
This is not the big, Austin-owned Chuy’s Tex-Mex. These Chuy’s are five tiny neighborhood restaurants owned for 36 years by the Adame family.
The newest location, 2400 Vaughn Blvd., is open only for breakfast and lunch. It’s halfway between U.S. 287 and Texas Wesleyan University. The location was built in 1962, and it has been home to Poly Bar-B-Que, rundown bars and recently Cafe Campesino.
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The Wesleyan neighborhood is looking better these days. A new chef-driven burger grill, Triple B Burgers, is about to start construction on East Rosedale Street.
Polytechnic Heights is lined with taquerias, but the most prominent Tex-Mex restaurants around are busy Los Pastores on East Rosedale Street or Mexican Inn Cafe on East Lancaster Avenue, an 82-year Fort Worth mainstay.
Chuy’s opens for breakfast at 8 a.m. daily except Tuesday, and it’s close enough to U.S. 287 to draw morning crowds for chilaquiles or huevos rancheros (about $6-$7), pancakes or breakfast burritos (about $4).
All five “Chuy’s of Fort Worth” restaurants are known for a garlicky hot sauce, thick flour tortillas and specialties such as a spicy carne guisada (about $10, or $6.25 on a Monday special).
This is bargain Tex-Mex. The Wednesday enchilada special costs $5.99, and weekday lunches with one enchilada or taco cost $5.85
The most expensive items on the menu are the rib-eye steak ranchero-style or a la Mexicana ($14.79).
A “comida grande” combination dinner has an enchilada, cheese taco, tamal, beef taco and guacamole tostada — enough to split for $9.99.
Fajitas cost $7.99 at lunch Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
This Chuy’s is small and simple for the working-class crowd, not like the flashy Austin chain. Don’t expect happy hours, T-shirts, swirl drinks or Elvis lamps — just Tex-Mex.
(The two restaurants tangled in court in the 1990s and came away operating as “Chuy’s of Fort Worth” and “Chuy’s of Austin.”)
The newest location is open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. daily except Tuesdays. Other Chuy’s are open for dinner at 9120 Boat Club Road in Fort Worth, 4441 River Oaks Blvd. in River Oaks, 5115 N.W. 28th St. in Haltom City and 7344 Baker Blvd. in Richland Hills.
Chuyito’s Texican Burgers combines Tex-Mex with a burger menu at 1521 N. Main St., on a north side block with five other good Tex-Mex restaurants.
For more information on all the restaurants, see facebook.com/ChuysMexicanRestaurant.