"Tex-Mex" gets thrown around frequently as a general descriptor of Mexican food that doesn't fit people's notions of "authentic," but there's a long tradition of Mexican cooks making great food in Texas, dating back long before the Lone Star State gained admission into the United States. What that translates to on a modern restaurant menu can be found at Austin's latest import, Chuy's Tex-Mex Restaurant, which opens tonight at 6595 West 104th Avenue in Westminster.
Chuy's was founded in 1982 and has since spread to dozens of locations in nineteen states. The Westminster outpost is the first for Colorado, but a second is already slated for 499 South Vance Street, in Lakewood's Belmar development, later this year. Despite the number of Chuy's throughout the U.S., the company is committed to a fresh-not-frozen kitchen and handmade flour tortillas pressed every day.
Homesick Texans will find chile con queso, tortilla soup, stacked enchiladas and sizzling platters of fajitas. For those new to the experience, soft tacos are served on flour tortillas, or you can get the crunchy kind made with corn tortillas. Chuy's is also obsessed with all things Elvis, so tribute dishes include the Elvis Presley Memorial Combo (beef enchilada, cheese ranchero enchilada, chicken tomatillo enchilada, ground-beef crispy taco and tostada chips with chile con queso) and Elvis green-chile fried chicken, made with Lay's potato chips in the breading.
Chuy's continues the Austin-Denver love affair between Colorado and Texas food and booze purveyors. Torchy's Tacos hit Denver in 2016 and now has four locations around the metro area, and Uchi recently announced that it will open a branch of its upscale sushi concept at 2501 Lawrence Street. Meanwhile, Denver's own Infinite Monkey Theorem winery and Lyons brewery Oskar Blues have both set up facilities in Austin.
The new Chuy's is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday), with happy hour weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m.