Earlier this year new owners took over the former El Vaquero Mexican Grill and turned it into what’s now El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant. We stopped by the newly branded spot to get a first look at what diners can expect.
1320 E Central Ave
Wichita, KS 67214
Sunday – Thursday: 11am – 9pm
Friday – Saturday: 11am – 10pm
If you’ve ever been to El Vaquero, you’ll remember how huge the space is. So with that, they had a menu to match the size. With over ten pages, there was a ton to choose from. I’ve definitely of the opinion, the simpler the menu the better the experience. It’s really hard to gauge a restaurant when there are what feels like 100 items to choose from.
When you read reviews of restaurants like this, it’s best to not put too much stock into it. Judging a restaurant off of 1% of their menu isn’t ideal but it’s also the makes the most financial sense for me. So let’s get it started.
We started off our lunch with complimentary chips and salsa. There wasn’t much to be said for them. They were your basic fare where we still found ourselves going through bowls of salsa. It was very mild with a decent amount of garlic.
After browsing through the bible of a menu, my buddy and I eventually settled on the camarones à la diablo and tacos which came with a side of beans and rice. Both items came out quick.
I had the shrimp dish which was smothered in a very sweet sauce with a minor kick of heat. For the roughly $14, it had a good portion size with plenty of shrimp to go around. My buddy ordered a tacos and thought the meat was a little on the dry side but otherwise decent. The single shell tortilla was filled so that was a bright spot. He also asked for their hot salsa and could only handle a small portion of it as it really brought the fire. He opted to stop using it in fear of a painful afternoon at work.
The service that afternoon was impeccable. They did a phenomenal job of staying on top of everything and making sure we were taken care of. Everybody there seemed really nice.
While we weren’t exactly floored by the food, it wasn’t all that bad and the people there would be enough to push us into going back to try what else they have.
Update: Upon posting the review, the owners did reach out to me. The new owner who also happens to manage La Hacienda Tacos and Tequila is currently working on remodeling the place and changing the menu. They will also soon institute a new attire for servers to fit the theme of the restaurant.
Here’s their menu:
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