Lopez Mexican Rastaurant
I had eaten at Lopez a couple of times back in the 90's. It was located next to its current spot in the middle of a "vintage" strip center. Their old spot is now occupied by Hickory Barn BBQ and since I've never heard anything about it at all, we'll just leave it at that.
I remembered it being good but unremarkable. Good table salsa as I recalled.
Anyway, my mom called and asked if I wanted to go with her and her friend to meet an ex-neighbor and her daughter on Saturday afternoon. Since I recently heard some rumblings about it being the best in town, I thought it was something I should see for myself. I even managed to drag OtherBrotherDarrell into it.
Arrived about 1:15 and needing a table for six, we found a short wait. (Maybe two minutes). First thing I noticed was the terrific table salsa. Very fresh tasting. I ate about a basket of chips myself because I couldn't get enough of that salsa.
I asked for a taste of the carne guisada as it's one of my favorite dishes. Our waiter happily brought me enough for a decent taco, so I shared with anyone who wanted a taste. It was good, (but not as good as mine!).
OtherBrotherDarrell wound up ordering a carne guisada burrito.
I ordered an old standby and test dish for a Tex-Mex place, cheese enchiladas and a beef taco with rice and beans. I just love crispy ground beef tacos, and Lopez makes a good one. The ground beef was relatively unseasoned but overall, very tasty. The cheese enchis were classic Tex-Mex, gooey tubes of deliciouness, (and since they were mine), with extra onions.
On advice of one of the "girls", I subbed the charro beans for the refritos. They were good also.
Good place. I look forward to going back and getting deeper into the menu.
I KNOW some of you guys go there. What should I try next? Rellenos?
Fajitas? How about the carnitas, (another of my favorite foods)?
Lopez is my current go-to spot for gooey cheese enchiladas, serving the style of Tex-Mex enchiladas which most remind me of my favorites from my home town in the Rio Grande Valley of the 1970s.
I haven't gotten much beyond the enchiladas at Lopez, but I don't care for the crispy tacos, finding them to be much too underseasoned for my taste, and also don't like the chiles rellenos much, another important yardstick for me to judge a Tex-Mex joint.
I will try the carnitas, maybe even today, given that Lopez is just down the road from my office! I have worked and lived in this area of the city for lots of years and can make a minor correction to the excellent report above. Hickory Barn has been in its location since 1980. It is the little tortilleria next door to Hickory Barn that occupies the space that once was Lopez.
Hickory Barn puts out a very decent rib basket, by the way. I haven't found much to love about their brisket, though. The sauce it not bad, leaning more toward Central Texas than East (not cloyingly sweet and with some heat factor, in other words). The twice cooked, hand-cut fries are really good, but there is a tendency to undercook when the line is busy, so order them crispy.
Best carnitas in town, hands down. The nachos are amazing (pictured). The beef rib tacos outstanding. The queso is terrific (ask for fresh jalapenos on the side) and the salsa is outstanding as you point out. The guacamole is so creamy and delicious. They put tomatoes in the guac only when they have nice tomatoes in. I love the shredded chicken enchiladas and I ask for the chili gravy on that because it is a fine chili gravy. The tortilla soup is fantastic. The cheese enchiladas are so very comforting (also pictured). The frozen margaritas are tasty.
I'm not fond of the rellenos (I don't like the coating generally used on rellenos in town) or chicken fajitas, which I find a tad dry.
It's my favorite place for Tex-Mex and we go there regularly. My DH says the same thing everytime: "This is a money making machine!" No matter what time of day, the parking lot is full. We started going there when it was in the old space and every evening the line would snake out the door and down the sidewalk, but it moved quickly and no one complained. But the BBQ place was there also, I don't think anyone is in the old Lopez space or maybe it's the Dollar Store now. That BBQ place has been there forever and the old Pizza Junction that was there prior to that was a hang out when I was in high school a jillion years ago. Probably because they served beer without questions.
I'm glad you went and that you liked it. It might have hurt my feelings if you didn't! :)