Sick of waiting in long lines and spending too much declining on a so-so burrito? Well, at least one solution to your consumption complaints can be found barely a mile away from the River Campus at John’s Tex Mex Eatery.
Located on South Avenue near Alexander Street, the restaurant, owned by a recent RIT grad and formerly known as Taco John’s, could easily be lost in the shuffle of the ever-evolving South Wedge district, known for its “melting pot” of affordable cuisine. Yet the tiny eatery is one of the few places in upstate New York that can transport you to Mexico.
Walking in through the open screen door, my dining partner and I were greeted immediately by a friendly-looking woman dressed casually in corduroy pants and a vintage t-shirt. If she hadn’t just come from behind the counter, I would’ve guessed that she was a customer, since the dinner crowd was dressed in a similar fashion. The crowd itself was small, appropriate for the quaint 20-seat dining room.
The menu featured a number of simple Mexican dishes – tacos, burritos, tostadas – that could be created as vegetarian or vegan at a customer’s request and were also available for takeout.
But what caught my attention was the price; there wasn’t a single dish over $8. And as the waitress explained, every day of the week a featured beer, possibly Corona or Dos Equis, is purchasable for only $2 a bottle. I thought it was too good to be true; the portions must be miniscule to enable such a small establishment to make a profit.
Keeping that in mind, I ordered the regular-sized burrito with chicken, priced at $5.75, as opposed to the small. My dining partner ordered the “Mexican plate” with tofu, priced at $6.
In merely five minutes, our meals arrived and I was astounded at the mountain of food that sat before me. My burrito was the size of the cinder block I used to raise my bed in Towers last year, and my dining partner’s plate was hidden under a pile of tortilla chips, homemade guacamole, spiced tofu and vegetables. At first I didn’t know how to go about biting into my meal, but my decision to just pick it up and go for it was undeniably the right one. The spicy combination of chicken, rice, black beans and corn was incredible and, despite that the burrito fell apart shortly after the first bite, it was equally delicious eaten with a fork and knife.
Had I saved room for dessert, I could have enjoyed one of the restaurant’s locally-made ice cream flavors, including the day’s special, Jamaican Honey Coffee. But I couldn’t even finish my entre. Yet, that turned out to be advantageous; the waitress boxed up the remains of our food and I now have an excuse to stay out of the dining halls for another day.
Fischer is a member of the class of 2008.