Carlos O’ Kelly’s is an odd name for a Mexican restaurant, but it is one of my favorites. Sure, its not as authentic as the “Tex-Mex” food that you’ll get close to the border, but its a worthwhile place for good food and a lot of fun. Many times a year I am happy to make their restaurant my “temporary home,” although there have been a few booze filled nights, that almost caused me to “end up staying.” There are actually “2” Carlos O Kelly’s. There’s the family restaurant it is during the daytime hours, and the late night bar crowd that makes it a whole lot of fun. For those with little ones, don’t worry about the partying types before 8 pm though, and I think this is a restaurant the whole family will enjoy.
The lunch and dinner meals are delicious, and the menu is diverse. They have among the best Enchilada Dinners around. In a way, they remind of the now defunct Chi Chi’s, as these enchiladas are loaded with either beef, chicken, or pork, and topped with outrageous amounts of cheese. There are loads of tomato slices, guacamole, and sour cream served next to them, which should fill anyone up. If not, it might add substantial girth if you eat it on a regular basis. At $9.99, you cannot get a better meal, and this is the one you’ll want to pair with a Margarita. Truly a decadent meal, with plenty of spice, that’s cooled down by that very refreshing drink.
Do you like tacos? If so, you will be one happy amigo here, as they have a lot of them to pick from. There are combination dinners with this type of cuisine, but I recommend the Taco Dinner. Its $8.99 if you go with chicken, ground beef, or pork. If you’ll add a dollar, you can get them with the steak pieces, which I recommend upgrading to. These flank pieces are cooked medium rare, have a bit of cilantro and lime mixed in, and are a treat that has massive crossover appeal. Along with your tacos, which are either soft shelled or in the regular tortilla per your preference, is a huge side of beans and rice. I love their refried beans, but if you want simple black or pinto beans, they are available as well.
The service here is excellent. While the staff is a bit young, they make up for inexperience with enthusiasm. A lot of them are local high school and college students, and I’ve never had a bad time due to poor service. They check on you regularly, refill your drinks, and are fantastic with small children. On one visit, my friend’s son’s booster chair was already set up before we got to the table, and the server brought him a coloring book with crayons. Now that is service, and the manager was pleased to hear our compliments. The supervisors are always available, and while they generally take a laid back approach, if they notice something wrong or are called in to look into an issue, I’ve seen them take care of it immediately.
Alright, so what about the other Carlos O Kelly’s? The time to go for real entertainment, is Thursday nights. That’s karaoke night, and it is downright hilarious. There are quite a lot of “regulars” who have talent you can laugh at, and they make fun of songs on purpose. The crowd is anywhere from 21-50 years of age, a good mix of youth and wisdom, that’s loaded down by booze. You cannot beat the bar service here, as the bartenders are incredible, and don’t try to cheat you out of the alcohol part of your mixed drinks. They make a vicious Long Island Iced Tea, which I fully recommend, and there’ve been a few nights that I can’t say I completely remember. The crowd is a lot of fun, and I’ve never seen a fight here. A lot of it is just this is a relaxing type of place, instead of where everyone’s going to show off, that’s a common occurrence at traditional bars.
My only complaint, is waking up one morning, and seeing that my tab was over $150. Apparently, it was a great night for drinking, and my friend was kind enough to be my designated driver. Most weekdays are a lot of fun for the bar scene, and there are a lot of young, beautiful single ladies that seem to congregate here. You can’t beat the amusement factor, and the way that the bar area is set up, will allow for “mingling.” This restaurant is open from 11 am- 2 am everyday, and stop in for a lunch, or have some liquid refreshment at night. Its located at 9959 Main Street Fairfax, VA 22030, and you can call them at 703-591-7113 for more information.