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Chevy's vs. Uncle Julio's - in Gaithersburg?

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I've liked both places for the freshly made tortillas. Are they still doing it? If I had to pick between them, which one should I go to?

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Uncle Julio's
231 Rio Blvd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Chevys
668 Clopper Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

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  1. IMO, Uncle Julio's is ok, but Chevy's is the McDonald's of Tex-Mex.

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    Uncle Julio's
    231 Rio Blvd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

    1. Love Daniel's response, but would also encourage further seeking. Pepito's number one is in G-Burg. Their first focus is Mexican style baking products, but they have a good menu otherwise (just like a place in Sterling that builds itself similarly). Not sure about the tortillas - but I'm guessing they focus on the quality.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Dennis S

        Pepito's has been closed for 6-8 months now but just up the street is Cancun Tex Mex which was really pretty good. I enjoyed the Chiles Rellenos and you never talk about this but the rice and refried beans were excellent. And the salsa was dark and smokey.

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        Cancun Restaurant
        117 E Diamond Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

      2. Definitely Uncle Julio's. In response to Dennis - there are definitely better Mexican restaurants in the area but both Chevy's and Uncle Julio's are Tex-Mex. It's a totally different animal and when you're craving one the other won't substitute.

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        Uncle Julio's
        231 Rio Blvd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

        1 Reply
        1. re: reiflame

          Agreed. If you want straight up Mex, don't forget about Taco Bar in the service station near Washingtonian Center.

        2. uncle Julio's (aka Rio Grande)
          the shrimp brochettes and their dry rub encrusted ribs are both very good

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          Rio Grande Cafe
          231 Rio Blvd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

          1. I'll vote for Julio.
            I've never thought the Rio location was as good as the Bethesda Rio Grande, but it's still pretty decent Tex/Mex. Their Chips & Salsa are worth a trip by themselves, IMO.

            I liked RG more when it was still in the original small, noisy, and crowded location across Old G'town in Bethesda. The move to Arlington Blvd mad for bigger crowds & slightly slower service, but I still think they serve up the best product in their category.

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            Rio Grande Cafe
            4870 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

            1 Reply
            1. re: mdfoodlover

              Thanks to all of you for your replies.

            2. Trip Report: despite all the great Salvadoran places around here we decided to check out Chevys. I stopped going to national chain mexican establishments after Cha Cha's, with the heavy layer of cheese all over everything. I saw recommendations for the salsa, and was surprised that it wasn't spicy at all, and the taste isn't of tomato but of smokey, browned chiles.

              I had a chile relleno (perfect) and the pork tamale with beans - nice Frijoles a la Charra - and the tamale sauce was quite spicy - another nice surprise when one is used to a runny, bland, tex-mex sauce.

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              Chevys Fresh Mex
              668 Clopper Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

              2 Replies
              1. re: GraydonCarter

                But Chevy's is a national chain.

                1. re: GraydonCarter

                  Just as a note for future - when made properly that day, UJ salsa blows away Chevy's. As do their chips and queso. For middle of the road tex-mex, UJ is pretty darn good. But i also love their frozen margaritas.

                  Did you mean Chi Chi's? Chevy would be a far, far larger chain. UJ is also a chain, but not even close as to the number of locations.

                2. My experience is that you get a consistently better meal at Rio Grande, with consistently better service.

                  Chevy's is hard to predict. Sometimes the food is good and the service is putrid, other times vice versa. We've only been a few times when both service and food were good. Because it is so inconsistent, we usually end up at Rio Grande.

                  We prefer the chips and salsa at Rio Grande to Chevy's. We also love the pumpkin or coconut flan at Rio Grande.

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                  Rio Grande Cafe
                  231 Rio Blvd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

                  1. How has nobody mentioned Guapo's in this discussion? I personally think they're much better than both of these places. As Americanized Mexican restaurants go, they're the best I've had from A to Z. They're in just around the lake from Uncle Julio's at Rio and another in Bethesda with several other locations around the DC area as well. Enough locations that I'd call them a "chain" but not enough that I'd let that have any impact on my perception of them.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: FunkHouse9

                      I think that Guapo's is far worse than UJ. Espeicially, the rice was terrible at Guapo.

                      As someone said above, when UJ's salsa is made correctly that day, it is SO good (if you like smoky chipotle flavor). Love the chips and the tortillas are about the best you will find for a restaurant like that.

                      Some people are purists, but I love frozen margaritas. And I love all the flavors you can get at UJ.

                      Among the 3 (UJ, Chevy, Guapo) UJ is far and away superior. Someone also said they thought that the service was better at UJ. I have pretty universally received bad service at UJ also (particularly at the Arlington and Gaithersburg locations), but I just put up with it if I want the chips and salsa and margs.

                      1. re: lalajane

                        We'll have to agree to disagree on that one. Of the times I've gone to UJ, nobody in my party was terribly impressed. Can't say I "disliked" it by any means, but it never stood out to me. Guapo's margaritas are great IMO, as well. Rice is rice and isn't something I pay a lot of attention to, so I can't comment other than to say I've never had a problem with it. Uncle Julio's has just never done anything for me. As for saying that Guapo's is "far worse," I think the long waits that they get for such a big place would certainly indicate that not everybody agrees with you there.

                        1. re: FunkHouse9

                          Oh, please don't break out the popularity = quality argument, or else Cheesecake Factory is the best restaurant ever.

                          I'm with lalajane - Uncle Julio's is decent Tex-Mex reminiscent of what you actually get in Texas along the border. Chevy's and Guapo's are nowhere near as good.

                      2. re: FunkHouse9

                        I love Guapo's fajitas but overall they're definitely not as good as Uncle Julio's.

                        1. re: reiflame

                          I love the shrimp brochettes ( shrimp stuffed with jalepeno pepper sliver and pepper jack cheese wrapped with bacon on a sizzling plate served with garlic butter) as well as the ribs. We used to love the Cadilac platter when it was a 2 lb steamed lobster with steak or chicken fajitas but they now serve a tail. the Plato gordo is great. That is why Uncle Julio's Rio Gramde Cafe is the clear choice

                      3. Interesting to see this thread revived.
                        I've not been to U.J.'s aka Rio Grande in probably over 2 years now, but reading this thread has me hankering for some of their perfect chips & salsa, followed up by the shrimp brochette/beef fajita combo from the Bethesda branch, which I always found superior to the Rio location.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mdfoodlover

                          The Chevy's in Gaithersburg is now out of business.