It’s time for something new here at LiveMom! How about reviews from the Austin Mommy Mob? That’s right- we’ve got a team of moms right here in Austin who will be trying out restaurants, products, services, food and more to share with you.
Yes, these moms are real moms. Some have only one kid, others have been blessed with many more. They’re out there in the field day after day shopping and eating and changing diapers- both name brand and generic- to get down to the bottom line; what is the best deal and who offers the best product. Yep, we’ll test it out first and tell you if it’s worth your precious time and hard earned money. That’s what the Mommy Mob does for you!
Our first review comes from Jennifer (you can read more about her here), LiveMom’s newest Mommy Mob Restaurant Contributor. Let’s see what she has to say about Chuy’s on 183 and Duval!
Last Friday night, Mommy needed a cocktail and Daddy wanted a burrito. We decided to check out Austin’s famous Chuy’s for Mexican food and margaritas. They have happy hour on weekdays from 4 to 7 pm. Not wanting to waste a minute, we high-tailed it over there the minute Daddy clocked out–at 5 pm on the dot. Our intention was to beat the crowds and get our kids quickly fed. Apparently, 5 pm is not early enough. The restaurant was mobbed! Queues out the door! Nary a seat to be had at the bar! One thing I appreciate about the Duval location of Chuy’s is the outdoor seating available while you await your table. Perfect for parents of toddlers!
We signed in and were told to anticipate a 20 minute wait. A few spots opened up at the bar and I wasn’t sure if children would be allowed to sit up there, but we had no problems, even with half my children’s Barbie collection splayed across the bar. Kudos to Chuy’s! Also, while we were waiting, chips, salsa and queso were all free and readily available. But the wait was longer than 20 minutes. Just a warning to those of you with antsy kids—you will wait. Appetites will be destroyed by the abundance of free chips and queso. The queso, by the way, is too spicy for all but the most intrepid of kiddos. But I relished its cheesy goodness.
We finally were seated and scored a corner booth. Their green chile fest was in full swing so we sampled some of the specials. Charlie Brown chicken, pan grilled and dusted with pumpkin seeds and green chile sauce, was a winner. The pork tacos with mango and a side of green chile rice were just ok. Their burrito special was amazing. Off their regular menu, my husband swears by the Elvis Presley Memorial special. It includes beef enchiladas, cheese enchiladas, chicken enchiladas and a crispy taco. It is plenty to share with a child or two. We also like their relleno and enchilada combo, but their rellenos may be different than what you are accustomed to. They are narrow and long, heavily breaded and very crunchy. My mother is a fan of their taco salad with fajita beef. They have a creamy jalapeno dip/salad dressing that is addictive. You can get it with chips. You can also order their chips and dips to go, and they are reasonably priced and great for parties. A word about their tortillas and chips: they are made fresh on the premises and are arguably the best in Austin!
For vegetarians, Chuy’s has a few options, but not the overwhelming number you might encounter at other Austin restaurants. They do have veggie enchiladas. I don’t love them. They also have cheese filled rellenos, quesadillas, guacamole and bean/cheese burritos. So you won’t starve, it’s just not veggie heaven.
The kids menu has a lot of options. It is illustrated so kids can choose their own meal, a nice touch. They have chicken nuggets and fries for the picky eater and Mexican entrees for the more adventurous kids. My daughter likes to order fresh, hot flour tortillas and a small bowl of rice and small bowl of beans and makes her own tacos. They have great kiddie cups that you can take home with you.
Now, the potty situation. This bugs me. It is waaaay in the back of the restaurant. You have to dodge the entire line of people waiting to check in. The people who just got buzzed who want to be seated. The surly hungry people in the bar. The bar patrons who have had one too many. You have to navigate this entire mass of humanity, with young child in tow (grabbing her crotch and screaming “I have to go potty! It’s coming out! It’s coming out!) in order to actually get to the potties. You go right—argh, no, that’s the kitchen! Correct your course, round the nacho bar, head right and finally, down a dim corridor, you find the potty. It does have a diaper changing station, though, and a capacious handicapped accessible stall.
Another benefit to Chuy’s, in addition to the happy hour prices, is it is so loud your kids can throw the most apoplectic of temper tantrums and no one will be the wiser. Also, it won’t kill your budget. Their most expensive entrée is under 10 dollars, with plenty in the 8 dollar range. Kids meals are around $4 and the portions are generous. Because I am cheap, I generally just order tortillas for my kids and have them share off of our plates. Cheap booze and an atmosphere so loud it makes my kids seem quiet: that’s why Chuy’s keeps us coming back!
For more information check out www.chuys.com. Other locations include North Lamar, Round Rock, Barton Springs and Arbor Trails. Duval is my favorite because of the outdoor seating but I have heard a rumor that North Lamar has less of a wait.