I love Tex-Mex food. There. I said it.
Tex-Mex gets a bad rap, but I’m not sure why. Who doesn’t love chiles, cheese, tortillas, meat and more cheese? It’s not authentic Mexican food, but I think that’s okay. It’s not trying to be. Tex-Mex is kind of like jazz; multiple cultural influences can bring out some really wonderful things. I don’t eat Tex-Mex a lot, mostly because I’m trying to lose weight and not add it, but I was reminded how much I love Tex-Mex food while in the Dallas airport a couple of months ago. (Am I losing you yet? Haha.) I was exhausted, starving and I had a lot of time to kill before my (delayed) flight to San Francisco, so I indulged in a delicious brunch and a huge bloody Mary while I waited. It was so good I couldn’t believe I was eating airport food. What can I say? Texas knows Tex-Mex.
And Texas is exactly where Chuy’s got started. Austin, to be specific. Since 1982, Chuy’s has been doling out fresh, tasty, affordable Mexican food (including local favorites from Texas, New Mexico and Mexico) in an eclectic setting. Oh, and these guys love Elvis. That’s been a thing since the beginning. You’ll find pictures, memorabilia and menu references, so don’t let that throw you off.
Richmond got its first Chuy’s in the Short Pump area about a year ago, but I never went. I didn’t know a lot about Chuy’s, and I stuck with my typical run to Whole Foods during my lunch hour to pick up something quick and easy. Oh, what I didn’t know I was missing!
Luckily, I got invited to the VIP preview/soft opening for the Midlothian location so I could try some of the food (and drinks!) with a few friends. I had such a great time, and we all raved about our food, the margaritas and the decor. Seriously, the decor is so much fun and they have Chihuahuas everywhere! Atlas would have loved it.
We had an awesome waiter (Hi, Keegan!) and the service was fantastic all around. From the host stand to the management, everyone seemed very happy and wanted to the guests to enjoy themselves. I was impressed that no one seemed to be letting the nerves of the soft opening get to them.
My favorite dishes were the nachos (part of our appetizer plate), the crispy beef tacos, the chimichanga and the salsa fresca that comes with the chips when you arrive. The nachos were huge half-moon shaped chips, each topped with beans, cheese, salsa and jalapeños. No more soggy chip on the bottom with no cheese. Each one was perfection. The crispy tacos were very flavorful for what seemed like a basic taco and the freshly made tortillas were delicious. The chimichanga (called a Chuychanga) was filled with perfectly moist chicken and lots of cheese. And after all that, the salsa fresca still stands out as a home run. It tasted like it was made less than five minutes before it hit our table and offered the perfect balance of spice and tang. I wish I had a huge jug of it in my fridge so I could put it on everything.
Other dishes we liked were the fajitas and the chile rellenos. The fajitas we ordered were half chicken and half steak, both cooked perfectly. The chicken in every dish we sampled was tender, moist and full of flavor. I was expecting it to be a little dry, because that’s what I’ve had at almost every other Mexican restaurant, but it wasn’t. Ever. We learned they marinate it in beer for a while to ensure it cooks through but maintains all the best qualities of juicy chicken. I’m going to have to do that.
The chile rellenos were huge. We got the plain cheese, and even though we were already pretty full, we finished the plate. The sauce that accompanied the chiles was full of bright flavor and had a spicy kick. I’d definitely order it again.
Overall, we had a great experience and would love to come back again for another gluttonous night of Tex-Mex goodness, and I’ll definitely be going to the Short Pump location for lunch soon. Check it out if you’re on the Southside, starting June 10th!
Visit for Happy Hour between 4-7PM on weekdays because a fully loaded nacho car and a discount on margaritas made with fresh-squeezed lime juice is no joke.
4731 Brad McNeer Parkway
Midlothian, VA 23112
Thank you for the invite and dinner, Chuy’s. It was a great time!