Tio Joes - Anybody been?
Looks like the original is in the Oak Cliff area. Just saw a sign on the old Don Pablo's in Grapevine that it is about to become a Tio Joe's.
I drive by Tio Joe's everyday. I have no idea how this place stays open. There is absolutely nothing special about the menu. If in Oak Cliff, why would you eat at Tio Joe's with it's really boring and poorly executed menu? El Ranchito, La Palapa Veracuzana, La Calle Doce, Morelia's, Veracruz are all around the Jefferson area. I never see any cars in the Tio Joe's parking lot, nor any patrons on the patio. I live in the area and don't know anyone who has gone there more than once. The food tastes frozen and just overcooked. For someone to be so close to such good Mexican food and to choose Tio Joe's boggles my mind. It's like when I was in Hong Kong with amazing dim sum everywhere and I saw some tourist family buy a six pack of char siu bao at the local 7-Eleven. Life is too short for bad food.
They were drawing a fair brunch/lunch crowd on the weekends, but I havent been by there in awhile. I have eaten there on several occasions when there were more people at the taco stand across the street though. The patio is nice. The food (tacos al carbon, enchiladas) has never been terrible, never really stand out either, seems like they are lacking a signature type dish.
Can't help much on Tio's - it seems to be taking an exceptionally long time to open, or like you said, maybe they've opened and closed. I'm amazed that a new tennant would come into that area given the massive highway/road construction that will soon be occurring in that general area.
Anyway, if you're looking for Tex-Mex in the area, Taqueria El Fuego (Richardson location) has been praised by quite a few (here and other boards). I haven't been and not sure if they're still open, but they have a location in a small strip shopping center on the 121 SB service road between Mustang and Hall-Johnson. There's a Texaco (?) convenience store and wand-style car-wash in the same center I think.
I tried the Tio Joe's in Oak Cliff once and there was nothing memorable about it. I don't know anything about the new Grapevine location, however.
Went there today to eat.... found out that they will open next week.... July 20th or so...
I know that with any opening of a new restaurant... if you are the first, you need to give them a break. They have great food at their smaller location on Sylvan.
Yes, went on opening night. Was prepared to go back again in a few weeks, but apparently they think they are so good, and so right, that the customer is obviously and always wrong. Don't take my word for it - go look at two other reviews on another site. The Grapevine location has managed to earn itself 1.5 out of 5 stars. And they deserve it. By the way, whoever wrote reviews on Tio Joe's in Grapevine prior to the end of July is lying - they were not open until then and expecially not when the rave review was written on this site May 21.
From my other review:
I wrote the review below and got a note back purporting to be from the manager "Steve Miller" but written by "Jacob J". To be fair - I try to be fair - neither of these people may be real but the note tracked with my experience at the restaurant. Instead of thanking me for my observations, it went on and on about how could anything be more important than the staff talking to themselves. Didn't see why a manager should talk to their customers. Then went on to tell me that I didn't have a clue what authentic Mexican food was. Well, I do have this clue - rating changed to 1, I will not be going back in a month, and as I tried to tell them once before, and as the second reviewer Dee B makes apparent just one week later - way too many good options in the area. They can be in love with their "traditional Mexican food" all they want but my "traditional U.S. dollars" will be going elsewhere.
--- My original review ---
To be fair, we tried Tio Joes new location in Grapevine on opening day - their liquor license is still a week away. So, making allowances for opening day - though opening day at a restaurant with a long-established location in Dallas - we will try them again in a month to see if things are better.
I have a standard menu whenever I go to a new Mexican restaurant - I try the chille relleno and the tamales. If they pass, everything else is good...they did not pass. The tamale was average, with somewhat tasteless thin chile on top, and the relleno was mushy - both the chile itself and the coating. The rice and beans were average. The salsa was warm - never my preference - and the corn chips were thick and bland. My daughter, on the other hand, had a delicious chicken breast with excellent squash side. So - 50/50 on the meal.
The wait staff was tremendously friendly and hopefully the kitchen and the management will not let them down. I will explain this comment below.
An inexplicable part of my visit was that even though there were only 5 tables occupied in this very large restaurant, the owner and manager felt their time was better spent huddled by the kitchen entrance with their backs to the dinining room talking to the staff. Why in the world wouldn't they want to know how we liked it, what could be better, would we tell our friends to stop by? Thank us for coming in, invite us to come back. Nope, whatever they had to talk about amongst themselves and with their employees was far more important than their guests. So, we will try again in 1 month and if they aren't cutting it by then they will be toast by year end. Customers might put up with being ignored in Dallas but in Grapevine with La Hacienda, Esparzas, and many many other established Mexican restaurants that pay attention to the people in the dining room, they better get with it soon.
As a side comment, their decor leaves something to be desired. The giant busty Tecate girl overlooks a weak attempt at playing on the "Most Interesting Man in the World" commercial, and the general look is kind of like upscale, downscale, cantina, fiesta, nouveau, bistro, mish mash. Superior food and attentive management will overcome this - though they might be well-advised to switch out the busty 7 foot tall Tecate girl if they want to recognize the heavily family orientation of this area. The whole look is kind of Blue Mesa meets El Fenix in Tijuana.
In this economy, give them a chance and recognize that they rehabilitated a long vacant restaurant in Grapevine. On the other hand, in this economy, they better get with it. Just lighting the fires and opening the doors isn't going to be enough in this area.
--- End of my original review ---
I now sadly change my last paragraph to - "In this economy, spend your money more wisely at any other restaurant where the customer is always right."
Now, again, to be fair - if the restaurant manager did not actually put Jacob up to sending the snippy reply to my original review I would have been able to discount the comments if the management had simply shown some interest in the first place. Dee B's review, and my experience first hand tell me that Tio Joe's has very little runway left to get it right.
So if you live in, or around the area, give Taqueria El Fuego a try - they're located off the beaten path in a small strip shopping center on SB 121 between Mustang Dr. and Hall-Johnson. Good food. No alcohol, but didn't think to ask about BYOB. Closed on Sunday.
Was just in there Fri. early evening and the owner said their location is doing them no favors. They just are not getting the traffic they hoped for. So throw some business their way and if you like them, tell friends and neighbors. (Sister restaurant to the praised location in Richardson)