Located in the corner of a Route 50 strip mall, El Paso looks like a typical Mexican restaurant. But once you sample some of their zesty dishes – and throw back a few margaritas – you’ll forget all about woebegone Chi-Chi’s.
The layout of El Paso Mexican Grill isn’t groundbreaking, but gives subtle hints of its heritage. Beside each table is a mural portraying Dia de los Muertos, the holiday in which families remember their deceased relatives. On both sides of the restaurant are large televisions airing live futbol games (you know, the sport where they kick a ball around).
But, of course, it’s the food that will bring people back.
The Grande Supreme offered a slew of different options on two plates that was so large, half of it had to go home in a box. But it was the zesty tomato sauce on some of the enchiladas and burritos that caught my attention. The ingredients were fresh and really set El Paso apart from other Mexican restaurants.
Another excellent dish was the Special Texan that had a quesadilla and chimichanga stuffed with beef. Unlike most chain restaurants, the guacamole came with the dish. The vegetable toppings and sauces made the meal fresh and very flavorful.
El Paso opened about seven months ago in the corner of the Great Southern Shopping Center, and it is owned by the same family that runs Los Mariachis in Morgantown, W.Va. Knowing from experience as a West Virginia University graduate, Los Mariachis was a favorite for students because of its cheap menu and strong margaritas.
The same could be said with El Paso’s margaritas, which will make your head spin. Meanwhile, the $2.50 sangrias were cheap and added a splash of summer to the meal.
The staff is friendly, attentive and quick with the orders. There was plenty of room to slide into an open booth the night we went, but crowds are said to pack into the place during most lunch and evening hours.
With the fresh ingredients and tasty margaritas, El Paso Mexican Grill may need to expand soon to keep up with demand.