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Jul 8, 2010 04:51 PM

Jaime’s Spanish Village

Is closing (see today's Statesman) at the end of the month. I've been there once, well over 10 years ago, and I don't remember anything about it. Should I go for a last hurrah before they are gone?

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  1. The food has been overpriced and not very good for a long time now, but the owner says that he's staying open through the end of the month and donating his proceeds to the workers. That would be a great reason to go, if you're interested in helping those people out.

    Last day is supposed to be July 30.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. What makes you think that the people who go to Matt's and El Patio stop other places from flourishing? Why would you tear down two long-successful restaurants that support lots of workers? This doesn't make sense to me.

        El Patio Restaurant
        2938 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

        1. re: trubbaman

          Sticking to the Chow, I don't really know why it's relevant how many workers each of the above named restaurants support. Both of those places are lousy. In general, I would say that the fewer bad restaurants, the better shot a better eatery has at becoming the Next Big Thing. Austin has long out-lived those tired spots, and they're frankly a detriment to the quality of local dining.

          1. re: gilintx

            I like El Patio's guacamole salad and their chile con queso, a few shiner bocks, and then some orange sherbet - mmm.

            .......just stay away from the enchiladas.

            Lesser know ones: Amaya's taco Village?

            El Patio Restaurant
            2938 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

            1. re: rudeboy

              I like Matt's, but to be fair I usually order the brisket tacos and a Bob A. IMO It is more than satisfying.

              BTW about three years ago I had a CFS there that was awesome. I have only had it the one time tho.

              People disagree on this board about what is good and that is a good thing because different menu items and food preparations appeal to different people.

              People like Chuy's and beyond an alcholic beverage or two I don't get anything there.

              Quite a few have recommend Polvo's and I had a poor experience with ice cold- Fajita al Guajillo and salsa that had sat for so long that it had completely seperated into solids and liquids (no it wasn't pico). I will probably not go back.


              There are more than 200 Mexican or Tex / Mex restaurants in Austin (not to mention trailers (especially my favorite on East Oltorf, but that is for another time.
              The options are great and we don't need to lose locally owned options to gain additional options. If you want to get rid of a few corporate fast food restaurants, I am behind you 100%.

              If someone likes Polvo's or Chuy's, that is fine (and they may not like my suggestions either). Restaurants fail and succeed for many reasons. Many times people that make some of the best food can not run a business

              1. re: Chefdavis

                Point taken, Chefdavis, that being a good cook does not equal being a good business-person, and that tastes will always vary. But I still think that to a great extent, the amount of dollars being spent on dining in Austin are a fairly steady number. If someone is eating in one restaurant, that necessarily means that they aren't eating in another. Like everyone, I have my favorites (and yes, I do love Amaya's, rudeboy), but every time I have a lousy meal, I do secretly wish the place would just end the charade and let somebody good take the traffic. It's a little immature of me, I guess, but I'd really prefer it if good food won out over tradition (Matt's, El Patio) or undeserved name recognition (Chuy's and all their ilk).

                1. re: gilintx

                  I don't understand the self-appointed Arbiter of Taste that some folks seem to have awarded themselves. If you don't like the restaurant, fine - don't go, but there are no shortage of people who do like going to El Patio or Matt's. Just because your personal preference is for something else, that doesn't make it more valid than the people who dine in another place for whatever reason they choose. Success in restaurants is difficult to attain and for them to maintain that for decades speaks to a wide range of attributes. It boils down to pleasing people and they have a record of doing that.

                  Mind you, I'm not necessarily defending their food other than to say that a lot of people enjoy it. My questions revolve around the need for some to close down local icons because they don't like the food or the crowds. I understand that in a perfect world we'd all be at mom and pop five star restaurants that made enough money to stay in business but didn't charge so much that we couldn't eat there regularly, but this isn't a perfect world and different restaurants serve different people. It's a big world, not a narrow one.

                  El Patio Restaurant
                  2938 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

                  1. re: trubbaman

                    I'm not certain why I'm being confusing, trubbaman. We are here to discuss food and restaurants, no? I would think that that almost necessarily requires you to have an opinion about food and restaurants. That lots of other people like bad food is not my problem. My palette is not a democracy. Olive Garden is probably one of the most successful restaurants in the country, but that's not going to stop me from wishing they would go away. I get that this isn't a perfect world, and I admit that it's an immature impulse above, but who hasn't seen your perfect world mom & pop flounder while far lesser fare flourishes and felt it was a little unjust? That's all I'm trying to say.

                    Olive Garden
                    1354 N Interstate 35, New Braunfels, TX 78130

                    1. re: gilintx

                      You're trying to say that a restaurant you like that closes is 'a little unjust' but you're actually saying that you want a successful restaurant you don't like to 'go away.' That's two different things entirely.

                      I have no problem with opinions about food and restaurants, but I do think it's a bit much to wish that a successful restaurant that you don't happen to like should 'go away.' It'll go away when the customers stop coming in.

                      You say that your palate is not a democracy but there's much more to a successful restaurant than just the food. Many of these places also have longtime employees with families. I wouldn't want it to be on my conscience that they lost their jobs because I thought the food they served was not what I happened to like. Thankfully, it's not up to you, although like the rest of us you get to vote with your dollars. That's the ultimate arbiter.

                      I don't buy the argument that if Olive Garden went away it would suddenly spawn better restaurants. There's no shortage of restaurants available as new ones open and others close every day. People go where they go for different reasons, none more correct than others.

                      As was pointed out earlier, there are a lot of reasons for restaurants to fail. Food and service are a big part of the equation, but neglect or errors in other areas can be just as deadly to a business. When that happens to a restaurant I like, I don't feel that it's unjust. Sad, yes, but not unjust.

                      Olive Garden
                      1354 N Interstate 35, New Braunfels, TX 78130

      2. In an attempt to actually say something about Jaime's:

        I met Jaime a few times, and he was a warm and inviting restauranteur who cared about his place and his customers. The restaurant was always a ramshackle place, but it was lively, especially on UT game days, with pitchers of margaritas free flowing. When Jaime passed away, there was little doubt that the restaurant would follow him.

        I haven't eaten there in a long time; Red River isn't exactly a dining destination. But I'll be sad to see it go.

        3 Replies
        1. re: heyzeus212

          heyzeus212 - when did Jaime pass away? I guess there's been a new owner for a while?

          1. re: rudeboy

            Jaime passed away three years ago; since then it's been run by his nephew, who worked there for a long time.


          2. re: heyzeus212

            Agree, sad to see a local icon go, even if the food ain't all that. Who cares, it's a bit of Austin history and it has something you can't manufacture, no matter how great the food might be--character. And I love Matt's, for the record, and hope it lives forever.

          3. Is this place that makes the Jamie's hot sauce (sold refrigerated) I love? I guess that's going away as well if so.

            9 Replies
            1. re: chascates

              It is indeed.I think it's the best hot sauce in town as well, and certainly my favorite of All Times. That's what I'll miss most. But overall, you go to a restaurant for an experience, and nothing can possibly replace the Jaime's experience, regardless of what you think about the food. The food always was standard Tex-Mex. It was the overall experience that is irreplaceable. It's a classic, for whatever that's worth, and I'm sad to see it go.

              1. re: stormholloway

                Um...I go to restaurants, and read this board, for good tasting food.

                1. re: reinadetostones

                  Thanks for summing that up, Reina. That should always be the focus.

              2. re: chascates

                i read that the queso and salsas will continue to be sold at central market, whole foods and royal blue in austin

                1. re: sbhlaw

                  Glad to hear that. I never tried their queso and aren't a fan of their green sauce but the red is tops. Speaking of salsa, Maudie's (I only go for the migas) seems to have changed in the past months. No longer the almost strained, smooth consistency (like Jaime's) it's also gone down in the heat factor. Anyone know of local restaurants that sell good HOT, hot sauce at a reasonable price?

                  1. re: chascates

                    Not certain if they sell it or not, but Habanero's habanero salsa (not their regular one) will set you free.

                    1. re: craveytrain

                      Just one cullenary question, How, on God's Green Earth did the worst excuse for Mexican food say open as long as this place did? I know the answer--us Austinites love anything that was here before we were. Well this place was here before most of us were born, and I'm 60! Oh well, another one bites the dust. Don't morn the lose, go somewhere else that serves real mexican food, and rejoice!

                        1. re: edberliner

                          Wait, are we talking about Matt's?

                2. Went there today. There was an elderly couple at the table next to us. The man's cell phone rang and after the minute it took him to figure out how to answer (I love old people with cell phones), he told the caller, "I'm at Spanish Village... we came here for our first anniversary... that was fifty years ago".

                  For those who don't understand that an experience is as important as the food, well, I just feel sorry for you.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: stephanieh

                    My formula: Food first, experience second. Experience can trump food, though. That being said, there has to be something on the menu that can actually be ordered. After cruising the reviews on Yelp (from those people who have provided at least over 50 reviews), it appears that there is absolutely nothing on the menu that can be ordered.

                    I have to go this week with some friends. I'm glad to go, as my friends have many fond memories there (perhaps before the change). Can anyone tell me what to order? I understand that I should not order anything that comes with rice and beans: go a la carte. I can't find the menu on line. Quesadillas? Guacamole salad? Just guac and queso? Do they have enchiladas with chile con carne?

                    1. re: rudeboy

                      It was our first time there, so if you're going with old-timers, they may be more help ordering. I really enjoyed it, was thoroughly charmed by the old building and shabby-kitsch decor. The staff was super friendly and the place felt homey. I don't have nostalgia to draw on, but I could easily see how people could connect with this place.

                      Given what has been said here, I expected the food to be crap. It wasn't. It was solid Tex Mex. They weren't resting on any laurels. It may not be hip enough for some, but it's not bad food. I've had much worse (Amaya's, La Tapatia, Camino Real).

                      They used to have the menu online. It was there a few days ago. I guess they've taken the website down. It's a pretty basic Tex Mex offering. I wouldn't say you need to steer clear of the rice & beans, but they don't add much to the experience either. I'd be hard pressed to name any place where the rice is good enough to comment on (maybe Habanero Cafe or Chuy's). Jaime's rice is hardly seasoned at all and has nothing else in it, but it was cooked properly. I tend to just use my rice as a vehicle for excess enchilada sauce. And, when it comes to beans, I tend to either be in a beany mood or not. I nibbled at the beans at Jaime's, but didn't care for them.

                      I couldn't decide between chicken mole enchiladas or cheese enchiladas. So I ordered one of each. The cheese enchilada was very cheesy, and not sticky american cheese. They don't have chili con carne, it's a meatless orangey colored sauce the thickness of my Mom's Thanksgiving turkey gravy (but no lumps). That sounds awful, but they tasted good to me, with plenty of cheese. I can't say they were the best cheese enchiladas I've had, but I liked them, and I'd order them again. Most similar to Jorge's (except they have meat in the sauce) or Habanero's cheese enchiladas in flavor. The mole enchilada was even better. Nice big pieces of pulled dark meat chicken and the sauce was the deep rich brown of a good mole, with the spice hints I like, I think it's clove that I taste.

                      My husband got the Spanish Village Combo. I tasted his guac and it was good. Very creamy, with fresh cilantro and fresh garlic in it. No tomatoes, which is the reason I don't usually like guac. I also sampled his tamale. The tamale was ok, the masa was larger grained than I'm used to, but there was a reasonable amount of meat and flavor in it. However, I wouldn't encourage ordering it. It was too dry for me. I didn't try his beef enchiladas, but he said they needed to be sauced more. I could tell his enchiladas were sauced less than mine. He liked them, but suggests asking for extra sauce. His combo also came with a beef taco (pretty standard) and I think he also got one of those "chip bowls" with queso in it. Don't know what you call that. He said it was standard queso, as in Velveeta.

                      Oh, I almost forgot to mention the salsa. It's the thin kind and was too hot for me, but that didn't stop me from dipping my chips in just to get them a little "wet". But, be warned, it's HOT.

                      I wished we'd discovered it sooner. I don't think we'd have been regulars, since we don't like going downtown. But, we'd have put in "in rotation".

                      Camino Real Restaurant
                      8650 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759

                      1. re: stephanieh

                        Wow Steph...thanks a whole lot. This definitely helps me. I would have been afraid to order the mole there.

                        And with the salsa, the hotter the better!

                        1. re: rudeboy

                          Glad to help. I hope you and your friends have a fun time!

                        2. re: stephanieh

                          Hmm. The beans and rice were not good. The tamal was dry. The taco was apparently barely up to snuff. The queso was velveeta. So why give this place a thumbs up?
                          As for Chuy's rice, I've only found it notable in that it is far too overspiced. The last time I ate there (and it's been a couple of years), the cumin practically had me running for the restroom. Is this why the experience is at least as important as the food? Cuz Chuy's has a whole room with hubcaps on the ceiling?

                          1. re: stephanieh

                            I also want to thank you for the descriptions of Jaime's food Steph. I find it interesting that people on this board think their food allegies give them some special power of opinion over others. Being able to describe the food is a gift and I hope to see more of your views in the future. At least I can tell you've actually eaten there. I don't go back to a place that has bad service even if the food is great. Eating is an experience of all the senses, not just the mouth or in some cases a weak stomach...