Maybe it was the lime green snakeskin vinyl bench as well as the schools of wooden fish suspended from the ceiling of the lobby of Chuy’s Tex-Mex restaurant on Gunbarrel Road that made it happen. Or it might have been the Elvis tributes dotting the room, including a real shrine and paintings on the walls of celebrities dressed as Elvis from different periods of his life. Or possibly it was the display of chuys restaurant, themed with cheeky pop-culture references like “Finding Chuy” (with a fish), “Chattanooga Chuy” (with a vintage locomotive) or “PikaChuy: Gotta Eat ’em All” (with a fish popping out of a Pok√© Ball). Whatever it absolutely was, it took my 9-year-old about three minutes flat to offer me his verdict of this newly opened restaurant: “This place is fun.”

His instinct was spot-on, as our family of four proceeded to have a delicious meal with stellar service in a kitschy space that screamed “good times.”

The food? We had barely gotten settled within our booth when our server, whose name tag indicated we must call him “Jon Snow,” stopped at our table with a basket of warm, crispy chips with bowls of salsa and also the restaurant’s signature Creamy Jalapeno sauce. The salsa was full of mashed chunks of tomato and onion and, even though it packed a good level of heat, the new tomato flavor is what really shone through. I had been impressed at first bite.

The jalapeno sauce was surprisingly milder compared to salsa. The creamy sauce tasted like a homemade ranch dressing pureed with cilantro and lime juice with chunks of green chilies and jalapeno. I needed to battle the kids off for a few bites, that was shocking for something using the word “jalapeno” in the name.

When Jon stopped to refill our chips and see whenever we were able to order, he gave us the scoop on the menu, emphasizing the restaurant’s persistence for serving the freshest food using the highest-quality ingredients. The meats are grass-fed and non-GMO, and nothing however the french fries and ice cream is ever frozen. Each of the salsas and sauces are prepared fresh daily, and diners should swap them out to customize their meals.

The menu is really as extensive, with appetizers ($7-$10), salads and soups ($5-$10), burritos ($9-$11), enchiladas ($9-$11), house specialties ($9-$10.50), tacos ($8.50-$10.50), fajitas ($13.50-$14.50) and combination plates ($7-$11.50).

To sample a wider variety of items, we started with the Appetizer Plate, which included the essential Chile Con Queso, Nachos, two Deluxe Quesadillas, several Chicken Flautas and guacamole.

The queso was quite good, with its mixture of melted cheese and Green Chile Sauce and Ranchero Sauce. It had a sweet heat but wasn’t too spicy. It’s a lot more interesting compared to basic white cheese and jalapeno dip you find at classical Mexican restaurants.

Chuy’s doesn’t offer call-ahead seating or reservations, so plan accordingly. Our server was clearly very busy having a full section, but we never felt rushed. Jon was patient with this indecision, chatty however, not overwhelming, gave helpful suggestions ogywhf answered our questions like a man who genuinely knew every item on the menu. He was kind and attentive to our own squirrelly kids, and refilled my husband’s drink each time before it had been empty. He was easily one of the better servers I’ve ever encountered.

Family dinners out certainly are a rare treat, so it’s important to find a destination with a menu that interests a picky eater’s palate in addition to satisfies a mother or father who appreciates a quality meal. Using its fun, funky vibe and food that is a solid step above ordinary, chuys near me is the perfect pick to please the masses.

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