After more than 20 years as a regular customer at Los Alamos Cafe, I have been forced to find a replacement. It hasn’t been easy.

Good food, plenty of it, lunch specials at $7 or less, pleasant and casual surroundings, friendly and fast service, close proximity to central Fort Worth – am I asking too much, people?

After weeks of trying out a dozen different restaurants, I have discovered a few places that come close to meeting all the above criteria.

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Tres Jose’s Mexican Restaurant is my new honey hole. In addition to free chips and salsa, they give you a bowl of black bean dip that’s…well…if Andy Griffith ate there, he’d say, “Mmm-mmmmm, that’s gooooood.”

The lunch specials ($6.99) closed the deal for me. The spinach enchiladas with white cheese are…well, if Jed Clampett ate there, he’d say, “Woooo-eeee! Them’s plum tasty vittles.”

Running close behind are Las Pericas and Nuevo Leon.

Anybody else know any restaurants that meet my criteria? They don’t have to be Mexican restaurants. Salads, hamburgers, buffets — I’m open to anything as I search for that perfect lunch spot where I will spend the next 20 years.

While you’re thinking, check out this clip of Buddy Ebson appearing on The Andy Griffith Show before The Beverly Hillbillies and Jed Clampett were even created.


  1. The word on the street is Jeffe’s Tamale Stand will be opening for business sometime this year. Honest food at a fair price with slightly curmudgeonistic service. Twenty years spent at Jeffe’s will be the best of your life.

  2. I have eaten a number of times at Day Break and they have a lot to offer but some fatal flaws in my book.

    First, the good stuff: Day Break’s hamburgers are excellent, large, and about as cheap as you get without resorting to a dollar menu at some choke-and-puke joint like Jack in the Box. A mere $4 gets you a burger, fries and a coke. Hard to beat. And, unlike most hamburger joints, this one serves free chips and salsa while you wait.

    Now the bad stuff: The parking is horrendous during lunch. You can barely find a spot. If you do manage to park and go inside then you’re lucky to find a table. If you do find a table, one of the waitresses will come and take your order without displaying one ounce of enthusiasm. There is a lack of spirit among the staff that bugs me.

    Also, some days I’ve ordered a burger and onion rings and received some thick, juicy wonderful onion rings. Other times I’ve been served thin, tasteless, frozen, manufactured onion rings. So there is a lack of consistency. And I hate to diss the chips and salsa since they are free, but they kind of suck too, especially the thin salsa. I’ll still go back from time to time, and most of these faults I can overlook to some degree, although the passionless and borderline surly service annoys me the most.

  3. Las Pericas is awfully good. So is El Pollo Palenque. El Asadero beats Nuevo Leon.

    But don’t forget Dusty’s in River Oaks. It’s great to go somewhere and always be the youngest person in the house.

    Why not Dos Molinas?

  4. Alright, thanks for the tips. I’ve eaten at El Asadero and it’s great food (it’s my editor’s favorite North Side spot) but if I’m over in that area now I usually hit Nuevo Leon because it’s cheaper (the enchilada lunch special is really good and only $5), and the place is quieter and calmer (of course, cheap, quiet, and calm during the lunch hour isn’t good for the long-term financial health of a restaurant so hopefully Nuevo Leon will build its customer base and stick around. They’re nice people).

    I’ve never tried El Pollo Palenque but I will and soon.

    It’s been a little while since I’ve been to Dos Molinas. They have great breakfast dishes and the service is good I recall a dark-haired woman at the register who may or may not have been the owner but always had a nice smile. I’ve definitely enjoyed some good meals there but I recall one bad experience. Sometimes they have mariachis and, at the risk of pissing off gaudily clad minstrels in sombreros everywhere, I don’t want people standing beside my table playing loudly on a Saturday morning while I’m nursing a bowl of menudo. Once, the mariachis came to my table of five on a Saturday or Sunday morning and asked for money in exchange for a song. No big deal. We all pitched in a couple three bucks each and handed them about $15. One of the musicians said it wasn’t enough. I told them to forget it then and move on, but one of my friends was embarrassed and quickly fished out another $10. Then the three mariachis stood there and played a joyless version of something or another while we all sat in silence and ate. I’ve enjoyed mariachi bands many times in restaurants or cantinas while drinking margaritas and having a good time, but there’s a time and a place for everything. Sunday morning mariachis ain’t for me.