Tequila’s Town

Anyone who knows me knows I have an insane love affair with Latin food of all kinds. When I ask the hubby, “Can we go eat Mexican tonight?”, his usual response is, “We just had that”.  “But it’s been 5 days!”, I whine. It started young, I guess. My paternal grandfather owned Mexican restaurants long before they were popular and posted in every town. My mom even tells tales of how my father introduced her and her family to their first burrito and taco back in the 70’s. I grew up with the likes of cilantro, black beans, and cumin before the Food Network had made them mainstream. So, it was no surprise that I jumped at the first chance to go to Tequila’s Town when my friend asked me to go, even though I’m five months pregnant and tequila is definitely off limits.  The hubby was glad to be off the hook for yet another night of chips, cheese dip, and his usual combination dinner.

Tequila’s Town is situated on Whitaker Street, walking distance from the Civic Center in Savannah’s historic district. It popped in unsuspectingly; I had to Google it to even find it. However, the find was worth it. What I walked into was not your typical, cookie cutter Mexican restaurant. It instead was bustling with an eclectic group of SCAD students, families, and couples, while steaming molcajetes and icy glasses full of sugar cane liqueurs and tequila concoctions went in all directions. I could almost taste the salt and lime on my lips, and for a brief second wondered if anyone would notice a pregnant woman sipping on a margarita. I shook that thought out of my head, and asked to try their fresh mango juice. Unfortunately, I was bummed to find out they were out. I considered going back to my exchange student days in Costa Rica and having a Horchata, a traditional milky Latin American beverage made from rice with hints of cinnamon and vanilla, but chose a water instead. I was excited to see that the Horchata was on the menu though, and it brought back a lot of memories. This only reiterated that this was not your typical Mexican restaurant, full of your typical speedy Gonzalez combinations one through twenty-five.

My friends and I decided, for once, to skip our usual cheese dip and try out the Table-Side Guacamole. Within just a few minutes, a man rolls up to our table with a handful of fresh avocados, chopped onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and jalapeños. He asked us how we preferred our guacamole and in unison we all agreed that we wanted everything. Quickly he began scooping ripe avocados into a giant molcajete, piling ingredients up until the dish almost ran over. With my eyes big, I wondered how we were ever going to finish it all, but with little work we were soon scraping the creamy, chunky guacamole out of every crevice of that stone dish. I continued scooping long after the guacamole was gone because each one of us was given our own personal bowl of salsa. The zesty salsa reminded me of my dad’s; it was tangy and salty, with the perfect hint of onion, garlic, and cilantro. I loved how it wasn’t too chunky; I could fit every flavor into every scoop of the tortilla chip. Soon, I was scraping that bowl too. Already, this girl was in heaven and I had yet to order my entrée; the only thing that would have made it better was if I could have dove head first into a margarita.

Despite eating for two, I was beginning to feel full, but I wanted to try everything. To get my cheese dip fix, I chose a single Tequila’s Cheese Steak, for the mere fact that it was covered in queso dip. Well seasoned and tender strips of steak and grilled onions were carefully rolled into a warm flour tortilla and topped with a spicy, yet creamy queso dip. Even though I was mesmerized by all of those traditional dishes, I still went to a typical, Tex-Mex dish – for the love of cheese dip. This cheese steak, however, was by far tastier than at your typical Mexican restaurant. The quality of steak and the flavor in the queso far surpassed that of those in the mass produced restaurants, yet the price was definitely comparable. For $6, I received the cheese steak with sour cream, pico de gallo, and a large bowl of black beans. I also ordered a cup of the Sopa Azteca, a Latin take on chicken noodle soup, sans noodles. It is one of my favorites and I don’t see it often, so I jumped on the chance to savor it. Tender chicken that had simmered for hours swam with onions and garlic, and alongside the $3 “cup” that could easily be considered a “bowl” in any other restaurant, sat a few perfectly ripe, cool slices of avocado and a scoop of pico de gallo. I literally dumped it all in and “mmmmm” and “ahhhhh” all the way through it. The Latin soul food was quite comforting to me and baby.

I began to feel very full, but I kept eyeballing the other plates at my table. One of my friends had ordered the Arrachera, which is simply “skirt steak” in English. I’ve seen Arrachera done several ways, and I seem to always love it. Tequila’s Town didn’t disappoint. The steak was smoky, yet sweet at the same time. It was covered in candy-like onions. My friend must have felt my eyeballs peering into her steak, when she offered me a bite. The tender steak melted in my mouth and left me wanting more than just that bite. Unlucky for me, she finished the whole thing and was still talking about it days later. It left an impression on her for sure! For just $13, she received a filling portion of steak, rice, beans, and avocado salad.

With a very cheap bill, delicious, satisfying food, I left out of there one happy person; the only thing I was sad about was that I didn’t have enough room to try more of the menu items. I didn’t even have room for dessert! Tequila’s Town is a winner for me and I will be back…soon! I might even be able to drag the hubby there since it isn’t like most Mexican restaurants, which he says, “They are all the same. It’s all the same ingredients, just wrapped up in different ways.” Most of the time, he is right, but this time, not so much. He would love this place, and I think anyone with a true love for Latin flavors and traditional cuisines would enjoy Tequila’s Town.

You can locate Tequila’s Town on 109 Whitaker Street. They are open daily, but the place fills up and gets loud quickly, so get there early if you like a more intimate setting. You may even find that your regular Mexican restaurant waiters from all of the chains are here eating the good stuff – I know I saw two of my regular waiters from my usual eatery. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did… but I hope you have a drink for me!

Kristin Davis
Eat It and Like It

For more information about our Eat Squad members, check out their bios.

Eat It and Like It launched in Savannah, Georgia with television personality Jesse Blanco as the host. His passion for food and travel has made Eat It and Like It a two-time EMMY nominated program about contemporary and traditional Southern food.