Mexican food is awesome, even if most places in America don’t actually serve ‘Mexican’. The three restaurants being reviewed are located in the Memphis, TN geographic circle. Hence, to be more accurate, imitation Mexican food is awesome. The term geographic circle is being used because these places are spread out over a distance that wouldn’t be possible to visit on a lunch break. They would however make a nice Saturday drive and lunch or dinner.
The first is something more than fast food and something short of the typical sit-down restaurant. It is located within walking distance of the University of Memphis main campus.
Blue Coast Burrito- Memphis
Price: eating cheap $5, eating regular $8
Address: 3546 Walker Ave. Memphis, TN 38111
Phone: (901) 323-3730
The best thing about Blue Coast Burrito is the choice in salsa. There are at least four kinds. They are set on a bar as condiments and hence you can have as little or as much as you want. Choices are your basic tomato-based mild and spicy salsa, but there’s also a pineapple salsa and a green tomatillo salsa.
The food is prepared sub-sandwich style, meaning behind a bar where you can inform the attendant how you want your tacos or burritos. Unlike some Mexican restaurants that have taken this style; Blue Coast Burrito actually offers an array of choices. Choices of chicken (grilled or shredded), beef, or veggie(onion and bell pepper). There are a variety of add-ons from cheese and sour cream to olives. Also, there’s the choice of flour or corn tortillas.
Eating cheap: My choice is typically a single taco made into a combo (chips & salsa and a drink) which came to the neighborhood of $4.50.
Typically however, if you wish to eat hearty meal actually listed on the menu, a burrito combo will run you around $8 and a taco combo (3 tacos) is around $7. They have several other options as well. Also, not to leave it out, their cheese dip is the typical white nacho cheese, but good all the same.
Blue Coast is the beginning of a chain, offering franchise and having locations throughout Tennessee and Arkansas. So while it’s not a local-yocal, its radius is still small enough to be considered unique.
The second Mexican restaurant is a sit-down location located in the Old Town section of Olive Branch, MS.
Price: eating cheap $5, eating regular $10
Address: 9200 Goodman Rd. Olive Branch, MS 38654
El Amigos has great ambiance, being built into a very unique style building. There are several levels and steps. Not to worry, for those disinclined to stairs, there are a number of tables and booths that do not require steps. However, if you are not misfortunate, and steps are not a problem, the level on the other side of their bar is a very nice location. It features a fountain, and also a window that looks out over a small courtyard. The buildings in this area of Olive Branch are typical of the 1940s and 50s. Hence, it’s a picturesque little nook.
The food, while not the best in town, is decent. The margaritas and the sweet tea are awesome. It’s a great place to come, eat the chips and salsa, and enjoy a drink or two in a very calming, adobe themed environment.
The cheap option: chips and salsa (free with purchase), a drink, and a single menu item (taco or small quesadilla). This typically runs about $4-$5.
Remember to add a little for tip. The service is usually very prompt and courteous. A cautionary note, the service does vary, depending on what time of day you are there. Later in the evening, say after 8:30pm on a slow night, the service staff occasionally seems to hide.
The last, but certainly not least, is tucked out of the way like most good places. It is a tidy and small sit-down restaurant a good thirty mile drive outside of Memphis, located in Senatobia, MS.
Price: Eating cheap: $5 eating regular $10-$12
Address: 329 E Main St Senatobia, MS 38668
Phone: (662) 562-5621
Rio Lindo also has an awesome ambiance and the food is outstanding. The cheese dip tastes great to the tongue and makes the happy neurons dance in the brain’s happy food dance center. It’s a simple enough cheese dip, white cheese with spice, yet it still manages to catch your attention.
While there are several more typical dinner choices to have, their chicken nachos are very good. Simple: chips, grilled or shredded chicken, and the cheese dip drizzled over the entire thing. There are various other choices on the menu, including vegan options.
The ambiance is centered around a giant fountain located in the middle of the restaurant. It’s used as a wishing fountain with coins littering the water. A few toy frogs perch on the fountain and there are a number of black lights positioned throughout the restaurant that give the lighting a purple effect. The center room is led into various other smaller ‘rooms’ through archways. Rio Lindo has a fun yet old-time feel.
The service staff has always been spot on. There is a space in the menu that cautions that good food takes time to prepare. However, the wait time is usually short to no time at all.
Cheap Option: Above mentioned chicken nachos (half plate) and drink about $5
Remember to add a little (or a lot), for tip.