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Best South Durham Resto News Ever

Los Comales is opening a second location on Southwest Durham Drive, near Kroger and Total Wine. I live less than a mile from there as the crow flies. This is gonna be dangerous.

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  1. other info, e.g when it is supposed to open?

    3 Replies
    1. re: walras

      No date yet, but they said it'd be opening soon. I think it will be a matter of weeks, not months.

      1. re: durhamois

        I live extremely close to SW Durham Drive. In all sincerity, this is indeed the best restaurant news ever!!!! YES!!!!! I'M ABOUT TO GO HOGWILD!!!!

        1. re: ToothTooth

          Now that I've recovered from my initial shock and delirium, I want to say that I really hope that the new location mirrors Los Comales #1 exactly and that the owners don't try to turn Los Comales #2 into a damned Tex Mex type place. The concept of an awesome authentic taqueria in a chain-y strip mall almost seems too good to be true.

    2. This is both good and deadly... I don't need more temptations, but since the close chubby's started making their menu smaller (it is convenient location not better than the Roxboro places) then I've stopped going.

      I agree I hope this is a mirror and not a fake out. I had hopes when Los Portales, the name anyways, popped up near Southpoint only for it to be tex-mex.

      3 Replies
      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

        Any updates on opening date for Los Comales #2?

        1. re: ToothTooth

          i drove by there this morning (right next to kroger). from whizzing by, it looks like the tables are set up, napkin dispensers. maybe just a matter of days (heh, hours??) ?

          1. re: cervisiam

            However, it looks like there is no walk up window for ordering. It seems like it's going to be wait staff service, which means higher prices. And there's no place I could see for a condiments bar. They seem to be installing a regular bar, though.

            I'd like to be wrong, but this seems unpromising at this stage.

      2. I feel like I must have been missing out on something great - never been to Los Comales. Can someone fill me in on the awesomeness?

        21 Replies
        1. re: LulusMom

          Well let me ask you this. Do you have a favorite Mexican/Salvadorean place in the area? Perhaps La Vaquita?

          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

            No, I don't. But I lived in Adams Morgan in DC and ate a lot of Salvadorian food there and loved it.

          2. re: LulusMom

            Among the best of the taquerias in Durham-- it's my favorite actually. It's on Roxboro Rd. so for those of us who are in Chapel Hill or western Durham the second location will be more convenient. Although you won't be able to get a paleta or a snowball at Pelican's nearby like you can at the Roxoboro Rd. location.

            1. re: bbqme

              It is one of my fave tacqueria's too and they have recently started have specials (recently to me) and sometimes you can get menudo even if it isn't the weekend.

            2. re: LulusMom

              I'm with LuLu'sMom - do tell! Apparently I have been missing out on something amazing in my life!

              1. re: Tehama

                I'm not meaning to compare these two but if you like Chubby's Tacos.. you should love Comales and they have a lot more to offer. See their menu on their Yelp photo pages.

                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  Thanks! I'm looking forward to trying!

                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                    Chubby's isn't worthy to stand in the shadow of Los Comales or La Vaquita, but its still far better than the terrible gringo magnet that is Nana Tacos.

                    1. re: ToothTooth

                      I'm still not convinced that Chubby's can stand in the shadow of Taco Bell. I've yet to have a decent experience at Chubby's and life is too short to eat bad al pastor.

                      1. re: rockycat

                        Really? Their al pastor is much better than what I've had at Los Comales.. at least the one near my place at woodcroft is.

                        1. re: cervisiam

                          Your guess is as good as mine. But its truly awful and I've given it multiple chances not to be.

                          1. re: ToothTooth

                            grisly meat? stale chips? rancid salsa? i'm just curious, maybe i've been too ravenous when i go there to notice food quality :)

                            1. re: cervisiam

                              Since its so close to my house, I've been to NanaTaco multiple times and I've found that the rule at NanaTaco is blandness. The meat in the tacos is always a variable pile of non-flavor. The rotisserie chicken is bland. The fish tacos are bland. The pico de gallo is bland. The guacamole is bland. The mole is inexcusably bland. I've not tried all the meats on the menu, but the one exception I've found to their blandness rule is the chile rubbed pork butt, which is really pretty good. The house made tortillas are usually pretty good, too.

                              On top of it all, its always jam packed full of gringos (I'm a self-loathing white boy) and their ill-behaved mini-me offspring.

                              As far as I'm concerned, the only redeeming things about NanaTaco are the cheap drinks and the clean bathrooms. That place is truly not worth my time or money, especially when you consider that the uniformly excellent La Vaquita is just around the corner.

                              Sorry to be so negative about NanaTaco, but you asked.

                              On a more positive note, I'm still very much looking forward to the opening of Los Comales #2 and I hope to be the first gringo in line when they swing open their doors for business. I hope to be able to report back a positive experience.

                              1. re: ToothTooth

                                I am not a fan of their fish tacos (that salsa is wayyyy too sweet) but I love the dirty duck ones.

                                1. re: ToothTooth

                                  thanks, i have been only a handful of times, so i appreciate hearing opinions from people who go more often. we primarily go to la vaquita i and ii.

                          2. re: ToothTooth

                            I'll confess. I'm a gringo (gringa?) and I like Nana Tacos.

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              NanaTaco is one of two Mexican restaurants in Durham (Dos Perros being the other) that is just not as good as I hoped it would be. The food coming out of there is, to my taste, sadly bland. I like the menu, like the setup and the vibe, but the flavor profiles are just meh. I'm fine with Tex-Mex and Ameri-Mex, I just want it to be good. I'd give anything to have a Torchie's Tacos there.

                              Dos Perros is another place that's better in concept than it is in execution. They have a couple really great cocktails, so I'm more likely to go there for the drinks than the food. I wish that Hector Diaz from Salsa's in Asheville would take over the kitchen at Dos Perros.

                              1. re: durhamois

                                I used to feel the same way about Dos Perros being boring and bland, but on my last few recent visits it's been very good. The sides have been much more interesting than just rice and beans (instead, think collards, squashes, and other various veggies). Plus, the meats have had a much greater depth of flavor and the drinks from the bar are always fantastic.

                                1. re: durhamois

                                  It has been many years since Salsa's has been good.

                                  Hector is great on concept but day to day details are not his strong point so consistency can be all over the place. When he reopened Zambra's the investors had their own guy manage the place...

                                  1. re: meatn3

                                    I haven't been to Asheville in 6 or 7 years, so I'll take your word for it. That's too bad, I used to love that place. I spent a summer in Asheville in '98 (I realize I'm dating myself), and I ate at Salsa's just about every day.

                                    My more current out-of-town Tex-Mex obsession is Torchies Tacos (various locations in TX, notably Austin, Dallas and Houston). In an ideal world, they would spread into NC by taking over that horrible Tijuana Flats place on Ninth Street.

                      2. I saw tables and umbrellas on the patio earlier today, so I poked my head in. Today is opening day. They are indeed sit-down. They offer the same menu as the original location, plus a few other specials, like mole rojo. They had a whole section of egg dishes on the menu, which I don't remember seeing on the board at the original location. I did see one concession to Tex-Mex cuisine on the menus, chimichangas, a dish I happen to like, but they're out of place on an interior Mexican menu.

                        It is true that they don't have a salsa bar, but rather are just giving sides of salsa with orders. However, they DO have beer and liquor, so that's a trade off that will please some (LulusMom). If the food quality is on par with the original location, I think it'll be a great place to grab a taco and a beer on this side of town.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: durhamois

                          The other place is technically sit down as well. The question is will this place do take out orders or not.

                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                            What's the technicality? At the original location do you order at the counter or do you sit down and give your order to your waitperson?

                            1. re: boaviagem

                              At the original location you order at the register and then seat yourselves. A waitress brings you your food and drinks. You then walk up to the salsa bar to top and dress your tacos, burritos, pupusas, etc., the way you want. The fact that the new location won't have the salsa bar is a huge bummer. That's what sets Los Comales apart from the other taquerias on Roxboro Rd. IMO.

                              1. re: bbqme

                                Well I personally have wanted to try Super Tacqueria and La Superior.

                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                  Super Taqueria and La Superior both have salsa bars. And both restaurants are very good.

                          2. re: durhamois

                            You know, I was just going to ask that. Thanks for the info.

                          3. Los Comales is open. I can't report on the food because we had just finished lunch when we drove by and saw their neon sign lit up (how sad is that?) No salsa bar, but lots of tacos listed on the menu at a very low price. I've never been to the original Los Comales so I can't offer any comments about the rest of the menu.

                            Still, I'm so excited.

                            1. I love the Los Comales on Roxboro and when I found out a new location was opening an extremely short drive from my house I was very excited. We had dinner there tonight and it did not disappoint in the least. It is a little different in that you are seated and waited on but best I can tell that's it. They do bring a basket of fried chips with a tomato salsa and an avocado/tomatillo salsa that are both very very good.

                              There is no salsa bar BUT that is changing next week AND the waitress said they will start doing to go orders then too.

                              Just my opinion but I can't really see any reason to go to any other Mexican restaurant with in a five mile radius. If you are going with more than 4 people though there is only one table that will take more than 4.

                              1. We also had dinner there this evening. My kids and spouse all had tacos, and I'd say they are essentially identical to the tacos at the Roxboro Rd location. I got the enchiladas verdes, which were pretty good, though next time I think I'll stick with tacos. Like LBD, I was glad to hear that a salsa bar was on the way. Apparently it's being custom made, and it just wasn't ready in time for the restaurant's opening.

                                The new location is being run by the young guy that is the son of the owners, and who you often saw behind the cash register at the old location. I think one of the other people there is one of his sisters, so it appears it continues to be a family business. It is true that the place has the vibe of a casual Mexican restaurant, rather than a taqueria. But the food was great, and my my hungry family completely appreciated having a basket of chips and salsa while we waited for our food.

                                As I mentioned, there's also a bar which stocks several varieties of tequila, as well as Crown Royal, Barcardi, and maybe 5 or 6 other varieties of liquor. We split a margarita which was tasty and not too sweet, though probably made with a mix. I hope in time they'll make them fresh.

                                All in all, I'm thrilled to have a Los Comales at this end of town.

                                1. We have eaten there twice. I am happy to see the tables slowly getting filled. I can't get over the low prices; I ordered the three dollar pork and cheese pupusa, and not only was it delicious but it was huge. Our first meal for two came to $14 and the second was only $11. I hope they can survive in Patterson Place with those prices. Presentation is lovely, service is friendly, and I love the taco selection. I do have a question. I ordered a cow cheek taco and the meat looked liked little pieces of chitterlings. I thought I had had cow cheek that was more like barbacoa. I am looking forward to trying the weekend specials--the soups sound wonderful.

                                  1. I'm excited to try this place and the location is perfect for after school meals - does anyone know if they are open late afternoons? This would be a great place to take Lulu after her month school assembly - seemingly great food and the perfect location for us. The only hits I'm getting on google are for the Roxboro location so I'm unable to find the answer myself.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      I asked and I think the woman said 9 to 9.

                                      1. re: walras

                                        Fantastic- thank you so much. And thanks to Durhamois for letting us onto this place.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          Enjoy! I recommend the carne asada tacos, and the cheese pupusas are not to be missed!

                                          1. re: durhamois

                                            I like their gorditas, tacos and burritos. Don't be afraid of the offal.

                                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                              Well, I do try to stay away from red meat. I've had some wonderful beef offal, but overall it isn't something I eat (beef more particularly than offal). Maybe I can get Lulu to order it.

                                            2. re: durhamois

                                              Yeah, those pupusas are really good.

                                          2. re: walras

                                            I correct my earlier:
                                            Sun-Thurs: 9AM-10PM
                                            Fri-Sat: 9AM-11PM

                                            They now have takeout menus available.

                                        2. We tried the other day and tacos were good in fact, the shredded pork tacos were the star. Unfortunately we couldn't resist an order of chili reillenos which were not dipped in egg batter and fried but were somehow smothered in sauce, were not hot so the cheese wasn't melted and were quite soggy. Very disappointing.

                                          You have been warned.

                                          1. Morning!

                                            Y'all mind to tell me exactly where this second location is? I couldn't find an address when I googled it [just got Roxboro Rd address]. I think we might leave ITB tonight and drive over.

                                            Thank you!!!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Tehama

                                              Its right beside the Kroger on SW Durham Drive.

                                              My wife and I went for dinner at Los Comales #2 last night and I can confirm everything that's been said previously in this discussion. Its very, very good taqueria food. Everything is very similar to Los Comales #1 except that #2 has table service, alcoholic beverages, and temporarily lacks a salsa bar.

                                              The menu at #2 is also quite a bit bigger than at #1. The new incarnation has a very long list of tortas, including the dipped variety (drenched in sauce). Another section of the menu is dedicated to egg dishes, which makes Los Comales #2 a strong breakfast contender in my book. They also have a few house specialities in addition to the taqueria standards like tacos, gorditas, huaraches, sopes, and pupusas.

                                              Oh, they also have a seafood section on the menu that mostly consists of shrimp dishes but also includes ceviche options. On Saturdays and Sundays they also have some of the specials that are typical at places like these - menudo and various pozoles.

                                              We are very fortunate to have Los Comales #2 in this neck of the woods. Everyone should go and support this (very obviously) family owned business.

                                              1. re: ToothTooth

                                                The last few times I've been to Comales Originales they have had a few shrimp dishes or shellfish dishes on the marker board.

                                                Yes this is dangerously close to my house and I hope the expansion going on in that area with the gentrified offerings won't harm their business.

                                                It is near the Kroger and DSW and such. The torta you mention I believe is called Torta Ahogada.

                                            2. Went there today - nearly had a heart attack when I saw the "Los Comales Restaurant" sign. I was just going to Kroger but when I saw that I googled immediately, found this thread, and went in there for lunch. It was terrific; they said the fixings bar is on the way. I liked that the menu included explanations (note their definition of barbacoa is different than La Vaquita - at Los Comales, it's lamb).

                                              I am going to be there ALL THE TIME. I live very close, plus appreciate the plentiful parking.

                                              Never made it to Kroger.

                                              1. Oh guys! I was SO looking forward to trying this place out after reading all these reviews and the experience was just so-so at best.

                                                5 of us went; 4 ordered a taco variety and 1 ordered an asada burrito. The burrito was reported to be bland and mushy and without rice or beans inside. It went home to the opossums.

                                                As far as the tacos went I tried the pastor, asada, goat, and liver. Regarding the liver, about every 8 months I make myself eat something liver in an attempt to convince myself I like it and end up regretting it every time. So, that one wasn't a hit for me, but I'm not going to blame it on Los Comales. My friend really liked it when she tasted it. The asada and goat were both dry, but was helped with the addition of a lot of salsa. The pastor was indeed excellent and I wish that was all I had ordered.

                                                There were similar mixed reviews from the others at my table.

                                                The pro's were the delicious chips, nice tequila selection, and very sweet service.

                                                The con's - apart from the varying opinions on the food itself was that the wait time was VERY long and made even longer when they seemed baffled as to how to split the bill 2, 2, and 1. I did notice that our table of essentially gringos was served noticeably later that the other patrons in the restaurant. Which is fine, at least I had my tequila and chips.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Tehama

                                                  Sorry to hear your experience wasn't exceptionally good. I'd encourage you to give it a try after they've been open a couple months. Insofar as we've seen, service has been good, and the asada tacos are the bomb. Hope you'll give them another chance.

                                                2. The wife and I went to Los Comales #2 for breakfast this past Saturday morning to try out some of their egg dishes. Everything we had was very good. This place is a solid choice for breakfast.

                                                  1. Ohhh, Los Comales...what have you done.

                                                    I had such a bad experience there today that I'll never return - and I love Los Comales #1 (maybe I'll still go there).

                                                    Very pleasant wait staff, but I ordered mole verde and was brought enchiladas. A second waitress apologized and put in the correct order - no problem, I had chips while I waited.

                                                    They bring out the mole verde - with a side of tortillas. Here's what I got - maybe two tablespoons of beans, same of rice, one small chicken leg, one small chicken wing, and a platter full of green sauce. It was more like a soup (but was not supposed to be). I wasn't sure if they wanted me to scoop up the ocean of sauce with the tortillas, as there was nothing to actually put IN the tortillas.

                                                    I think I was being punished by the cook for not eating the mistake enchiladas?

                                                    I don't actually like dark meat, but figured I'd go ahead and eat it and just leave. Welp, the chicken leg was not even hot. Who knows how old it was.

                                                    I pointed this out to the waitress and she apologized and didn't charge me.

                                                    Will not eat there again and am curious to see how their sanitation grades go. I suspect that chicken leg was not kept at the required temperature.

                                                    Sigh. Too many other good places nearby to risk it (Tonali, La Vaquita).

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Barbara

                                                      I'm also a fan of LC#1 and I was wondering if anybody was going to post a bad experience from LC#2 as my last visit was not that great. No mistakes on the orders but the food overall just wasn't very good and the service was really really slow. The carne asada taco I had was really dry and barely warm. The carnitas taco was pretty fatty in a bad way, rubbery with no crispy brown parts. As far as sanitation goes as I was leaving the bathroom a woman was dragging on the ground a very large bag of onions from the stockroom to the kitchen, across the pathway that the leads in and out of the bathrooms-yuck!

                                                    2. The current issue of The Indy referenced this thread in their story about Los Comales #2. Its so very meta.


                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: ToothTooth

                                                        Happy to read this - the last couple of posts had me a little nervous.

                                                        1. re: ToothTooth

                                                          I really hope that good review puts pressure on them to be consistently good! I've eaten there three times - the first was fabulous, the second time the food was fabulous but the service mega slow, and the third time was one of the worst experiences I've had. I may go back in six months.

                                                          1. re: ToothTooth

                                                            Written by former Chowhound poster David A. who I presume has gone into lurk mode.

                                                          2. I went back there today for the first time since my really bad experience, and had a great experience - really good service and food. I stuck to tacos this time and couldn't rave more, so, hopefully it'll be good from here on out.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: Barbara

                                                              This is great to hear, since your first review has kept me from rushing there (although I've kept it on my "must try" list). Maybe they were still getting their sea legs the first time?

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                Is it as great as the original Los Comales? No, not quite. Is it better than any other full-service Mexican restaurant around? Yes, most definitely. Is there any other reason to rush there? Only if you consider that it's the only interior Mexican place around that has a full bar.

                                                                1. re: durhamois

                                                                  Durhamois, you know the way to my heart.

                                                                2. re: Barbara

                                                                  Just wanted to chime in that I went to Los Comales for dinner last night (yet again) and it was just as good as ever. I skipped my regular order of tacos, etc. and had a fantastic plate of chicken enchiladas with a spicy orange sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and avocados. And a draft Nego Modelo. The service was fast and friendly and the the food was great. Viva Los Comales!

                                                                3. I saw something (not sure where - been a head spinning week) that said both locations have or are to close? Any confirmations of this?

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    Caramba! I hope this is not the case.

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                      I saw it on City-Data's Triangle forum.

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                        Yea, a friend of mine went to the one of 15-501, and said there was a sign saying it was closed by the NC Dept of Revenue. Probably safe to assume that means they owe taxes. Hopefully they can get them paid and reopen. Heck, I'd put in for a Kickstarter campaign to get them reopened.

                                                                        1. re: durhamois

                                                                          That's terrible news. I hope they can get their problem with DoR resolved.

                                                                          Does anyone remember the New Orleans Cookery in Chapel Hill? They got shut down because the owner was not paying payroll taxes. The owner, who at the time was getting ready to open another restaurant in Durham (where Four Square) is now located, disappeared and was found later hiding out in a restaurant kitchen in the Carribean.

                                                                          1. re: boaviagem

                                                                            On that same note, I got off 40 the other down around Mebane and was driving through the country over to Graham and passed a small little gumbo shack on the side of the road.

                                                                            I was pressed for time and really sad I didn't get to stop and investigate.

                                                                            Does anyone happen to know anything about this N.O./gumbo joint? I'd love details!

                                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                                          My wife said that the one on 15-501 is closing. Didn't hear about the original location but if so that is indeed sad news. Hopefully someone will step in and help get their financials in order.

                                                                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                            I read about the closing of the two Los Comales stores over the past weekend. Somehow, I just knew that having a second Los Comales near my home in SW Durham was too good to be true. I will sorely miss Los Comales if they don't come back from this.

                                                                            Is it too soon to rename the title of this thread to "WORST South Durham Resto News Ever"?