Western Favorite Lands in the Town Center

Get Tex Mex in Yo' Face at Chuy's


Chuy’s, pronounced ‘chewies,’ is officially part of the Northeast Florida food scene. An Austin, Texas favorite, this restaurant serves large portions of Tex-Mex fare.

The much-beloved chain has a fun atmosphere. The décor is rather awesome, too. My favorite? A sign that reads, “Bring in a framed photo of your dog & get a free appetizer.” So snap a pic of your pooch and bring it in!

As soon as you’re seated, a friendly waiter whisks out the salsa and chips. ASAP. Trust me: You’ll devour the light, freshly fried, salty tortilla chips right away. Fear not, though–here’s another server with a giant scooper of more crunchy treasures to fill the basket.

Time for that margarita. Put Chuy’s at the top of your margarita fix list. There are lots of options, but I dug the Texas Martini, one helluva marg served in a martini glass, with jalapeño-stuffed olives. The extra fun part? Instead of a pitcher, you get a shaker–you pour your own drink.

Spice-lovers, if you’re looking for a tingle in the taste buds, Chuy’s is the spot. Seems like everything, from the complimentary salsa to the multitudes of house sauces, is hella spicy and made in-house, a major plus. Try them all on a “sauce tour.”

One of Chuy’s many claims to fame are the housemade flour tortillas. There’s even a tortilla viewing area, where you watch them shape the dough, throw it on the griddle and fill your tortilla warmer with a stack all your own.

If you’re new to Chuy’s, then the Appetizer Plate ($11.29) is a good option. You get all the usuals, like chile con queso and guac, plus tasty options like loaded nachos, deluxe quesadillas and chicken flautas.

If you’re a burrito fiend, check out the Big as Yo’ Face Burritos. I went with Roasted Chicken ($10.49), which is stuffed in a 12-inch flour tortilla with refried beans, cheese and a choice of meat (bean, ground sirloin, roasted chicken, fajita beef or fajita chicken). Pick a sauce to ladle on top, name your level of spice, from Ranchero (mild) to Boom Boom (medium) to Hatch Green Chili (ultra spicy)–and more in between. Warning: The rice brings heat, too.

Chuy’s fajita meats are marinated for 24 hours in a signature marinade which, I’m told, is a blend of Shiner Bock beer, serrano peppers, lime and top-secret spices. This is a big plate of food, but if you and your co-conspirator are fajita-lovers, try the “For Two” option–both bellies will be full. We ordered the Fajita Combo with both chicken and beef ($14.99/$27.89). The meats were tender and did well, bite-for-bite, in a tortilla. The fajitas include all the fixings you want for the perfect bite: a giant guac bowl filled with sour cream, cheese and pico de gallo and a tureen of rice and beans.

If you need a Tex-Mex fix, Chuy’s has the goods.

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