Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Once upon a time, there was a dinky little Mexican restaurant on the gritty north side of Fort Worth, hard by the fabled Stockyards.

Joe T. Garcia’s restaurant started off small and unprepossessing, as such family-owned operations often do.

Joe T. Garcia’s: the original façade.

She Who Must Be Obeyed and her family used to patronize the place every so often. When we were married, we made a pilgrimage there at some point in the festivities. It was a veritabobble Foat Wuth Tradition to eat at Joe T’s; and who were we to buck tradition?

“What about the food?” you ask. My memory of the last meal I had had at Joe T’s dates from almost thirty years ago. Back then, the place served basic (but well-executed) Tex-Mex. Lotta refried beans, rice, and ground meat. Tacos, enchiladas, and chalupas were the order of the day. Good, but nothing deserving of a special outing - not when there was a whole new generation of really good Mexican restaurants sprouting in Texas and spreading like wildfire across the country as the cuisine of South of the Border gained popularity.

Last week, SWMBO and I joined Morris William and his brood for lunch at Joe T’s. In the intervening years, the little restaurant had grown, adding dining rooms, patios, and shaded outdoor dining areas. It now covered an entire city block.

An outdoor patio - one of many.

It’s a frickin’ hacienda!

A new dining room - one of several additions since the 1970’s.

A covered outdoor dining area.

Not only was the place much bigger than it had been thirty years ago, the food was much better. An appetizer-sized quesadilla bursting with chicken and cheese. Salsa that perfectly balanced the heat of jalapeño with the acidic bite of fresh tomatoes. Beef nachos made with humongous gouts of grilled steak. None of your crappy ground-beef-’n’-Velveeta nachos here, no siree.

Elder Daughter and I split an order of beef fajitas. It was immense. It was delicious.

There are plenty of people who will tell you that Joe T’s represents the pinnacle of Tex-Mex, that it is the pre-eminent exemplar of that cuisine in the entire state of Texas and possibly the nation. I’m not sure I would want to argue with ’em.

Nephew William gets ready to throw a penny in the fountain.

SWMBO, Rebecca, and baby niece Madison.

SWMBO sez, “Eat at Joe’s!”

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