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Chuy’s Famous Rita- On the Rocks

Chuy’s is the very definition of Tex-Mex, but with that “keep Austin weird,”  fun and funky attitude. Since its opening on Barton Springs Road in Austin in 1982, it’s been serving authentic and fresh food in an atmosphere that has become uniquely Chuy’s. The founder’s joke that their “decorator” was a good friend of theirs, Jose Cuervo, who due to lack of money made some interesting decorating choices such as hanging bright and shiny hubcaps on the ceiling and creating an Elvis shrine.

Chuy’s is one of my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants in the world and I never visit Texas without drinking a margarita or two. The Chuy’s “Famous Rita” on the rocks is one of the better house margaritas you will find anywhere. If you prefer a healthier option, try the Top-Shelf Skinny Rita, which is made with agave nectar, not sugar.  If you want more alcohol, you can add a floater on top of Cointreau or tequila.

A newer option to the menu and certainly more high brow than the house marg is the “New Mexican Martini,” which is El Jimador Silver tequila infused with green chiles and Cointreau, served in a salt-rimmed martini glass with jalapeño-stuffed olives.  Pace yourself- these are supposed to be sipped slowly, but they are so good that slowing down can be difficult.  My recommendation is to eat a bite of seasoned ground beef enchiladas with deluxe tomatillo sauce in between each drink.

If none of these work for you, you can always design your own margarita choosing from a selection of tequilas (Avion, Hornitos, Herradura, Cazadores, Tres Generaciones) and orange liqueurs (Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or Patron Citronge).

If you are in Texas, get to Chuy’s and taste what Tex-Mex and margaritas are supposed to taste like. If you visit during happy hour you can save a buck or two on the house margs and most Chuy’s have a free nacho bar served out of the back of an old car.