By Matt Larsen
If you’re not grinning before you amble up the wooden ramp and set foot on the deck of El Charro Tapatio, expect that to change fast.
Rough Mondays or even tough days in general don’t make it past the vibrant piñatas and the breeze-ruffled banners dangling from the rafters of this outdoor oasis along Waco Drive.
Weather not so hot? Or, more likely too hot? Step inside to find a seat of your choice in the undersized but welcoming interior.
There are no secrets here as most tables offer some sort of view behind the counter and into the kitchen.
Kitchen staff greets you upon entrance with the aroma of sizzling fajita meat and the occasional clanging of skillets if your timing is just right.
Your second (but friendliest) greeting comes in the form of a disarming smile on the face of the waitress. Breakfast, lunch or dinner: Take your pick.
She will forewarn you about the green salsa, smile through your mispronunciations and keep the complimentary chips and salsa coming.
Chips and salsa come just as freely at breakfast as they do at dinner.
The regular menu prices appear tempting until she points out the evening specials.
The $3.99 taco plate will do the trick if you seek a filling dinner at the cheapest price. For two dollars more, however, the aroma and popping of sizzling fajita meat that greeted you upon your entrance will pay you a personal visit as part of the Parrillada Wednesday night special.
The Parrillada skillet arrives heaped with vegetables and more chicken, steak and shrimp than your two tortillas can handle.
And that’s where the rice comes in, providing a welcome companion for the remaining meat and veggies.
No need to budget extra time for the fajitas, either. Between downing chips and bobbing in your booth to catchy Latino tunes, the fajita platter comes through the swinging door and glides toward your table before you can fully take in the unashamedly Tex-mex décor.
Breakfast comes just as quickly just as satisfying and at equally enticing prices.
While the breakfast burrito comes with two ingredients for $2.99 and extras come cheap, the taco plate comes equally as inexpensive and boasts three packed tortillas.
These hefty tacos cover the plate and their size might make you take them home for lunch.