I love introducing new comers to surprisingly good eateries. Years ago, while I was living and teaching in St. Paul Minnesota, I returned home with some of my co-workers (including my administrator) for a Teacher’s conference. As any proud Tylerite in the know would, I took my fellow teachers to some of my favorite haunts, particularly Taqueria el Lugar. My boss was so impressed he delayed our return trip to St. Paul just long enough to get in one more visit to the “Best Mexican restaurant he’d ever experienced.”
For years I’ve enjoyed taking guests to Taqueria el Lugar, usually the Gentry location, and watched their reactions as we pulled up at the modest local and found some of the best genuine, Mexican food they’d ever had. Over the years the family owned business has expanded to numerous locals around the city.
Well, I took an out of town friend, to one of my all time favorite Tyler restaurants today. This visit was to the newest installment right down on the square. The location is ideal, and actually seems like it should have been open for years. I trust that the professionals who work on the square will keep the local legend open for many years.
Today’s visit wasn’t like the one I had years ago however. It’s not that the food wasn’t good. It’s still great, although I must agree with one of my friends who noted they went a little light on the cheese. But that may have been the particular day. The main difference is that the price has really gone up. I’m assuming that has something to do with the need to pay for the new locations. Of course, part of reason my experience was lessened may have been the height of my own expectations.
For a long time el Lugar has been a big part of my summer rituals. I capped off a lot days at the lake with cheap and delicious “number sevens.” Well Tyler has changed and so have my summers. I still plan on the occasional trip to el Lugar, but it will probably not be the staple of my diet that it used to be.