Raleigh, N.C. — Chuy's isn't just another Tex-Mex joint. Featuring an Elvis Shrine at every location, this Austin, Texas-based chain has a character all its own. Their Raleigh location's decor features metal palm trees, a nacho bar inside the back of a classic car and framed pictures of people's dogs. (Bring a framed picture of your dog to have it hung in the bar.)
With menu items like "Burritos As Big As Yo' Face," stuffed chile rellenos and margaritas, the Out and About team had to check it out.
Location: Next to the Hyatt House in the North Hills shopping area, on the same side as Cowfish, Sparians and World of Beer. There is a parking garage next door or grab a space near the Hyatt.
Menu: The menu features family recipes from south Texas, New Mexico and Mexican border towns. It is the typical Tex-Mex fare - burritos, tacos, salads, soups, enchiladas, fajitas, flauntas and chile rellenos. Salsa is made fresh every hour and all tortillas are hand-rolled. They also offer seven handmade sauces - ranging from the mild Tomatillo to the quite spicy Hatch Green Chile. If you go during happy hour, make sure to check out their "nacho car" which has salsa, chips, chile con queso and more!
We recommend started with the free chips and salsa. The salsa was really good, and was slightly sweet before the spiciness kicked in. It was fresh, chunky and full of flavor. Our only complaint was that the chips were on the thin side so they kept breaking in the salsa and the guacamole we ordered.
The guacamole ($5.89) - made fresh on site! - is a must-order. Creamy and served with a lettuce and cheese salad on the bottom, it was a large enough bowl for three of us to share.
We each selected a different entree to maximize the reviewing experience. Each dish was huge served with refried beans and Mexican rice.
Kathy: I got the Southwestern enchilada ($9.29), which was made with handmade blue corn tortillas stacked with hand-pulled, roasted chicken and cheese and then topped with green chile sauce and a fried egg. I underestimated how spicy that green chile sauce was going to be. I can handle some spice - I'm originally from Cajun country! - but this dish took me out. It was just way too spicy. I was able to tame the spiciness with some sour cream, which really helped me enjoy the roasted chicken better. I finished maybe a quarter of my lunch before tapping out. I definitely want to go back and try a less spicy dish and a margarita!
Caitlin: I got the Chuy's Special enchilada ($8.99): Homemade blue corn tortillas with chicken, cheese and tomatillo sauce, served with beans and rice on the side. I really liked it and thought the blue corn tortillas were a unique touch. While the dish was simple, it was done well and the portions were huge! This was definitely a milder option for those who don't like super spicy food. Our server was attentive and friendly, and the bar area was fantastically decorated with dog pictures in a kitsch diner style. I'd come back again if I was in the area, and try some margaritas or their sangria.
Tara: I have been to Chuy’s twice since it has opened and am already ready to go back again. The first time, I got the chicken fajitas for one which really could be fajitas for two. They were delicious and all of the ingredients were very fresh. During this Out and About trip, I got my new favorite Mexican dish, the Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom - chicken and cheese enchiladas with boom-boom sauce made with cheese, roasted New Mexican green chiles, tomatillos, green onions, cilantro and lime juice. This dish definitely packs a punch so if you don’t like spicy steer clear. As with the fajitas, this dish was big enough for two people, but I am not ashamed to say I finished the whole thing in one sitting.
Service: As Caitlin said, our server was attentive and friendly. He got us extra chips several times. We really devoured those things!
The bill: For the portion sizes you get, the prices were accurate. Expect to spend between $10-$15 and plan to bring home some leftovers!
Verdict: Double check what sauces are on your order so you don't end up crying through your meal! This is definitely a place that fans of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine should check out. We will go back, especially for happy hour!