SAN ANTONIO — Brisket is king at Garcia’s Mexican Food. The grill can’t smoke the meat quick enough for customers.
“The brisket is the biggest hit right now,” John Garcia said.
But brisket wasn’t always the star of the menu. Garcia said when his parents opened Garcia’s Mexican Food in 1962 the menu was simple.
“Started off really basic. Just enchiladas and tacos,” Garcia said. “And it’s gotten bigger in the last 20 years.”
The business started across the street from its location at 842 Fredericksburg Rd. It’s an unpretentious spot where the patrons often wait in line for a seat at one of 13 tables and 7 stools. The race to get a table on the weekend doesn’t come to the swift. It comes to the patient.
“It’s a friendly atmosphere. Everybody loves it,” He said.
Garcia’s managed to stay alive as the corridor of business surrounding the restaurant became lifeless. Andrew, Sandra, John and his son Joseph run the place. Brother Julio works at Lackland Air Force base.
They struggle with the thought of expanding their space or holding on to its traditional Tex-Mex diner like charm. Garcia said the family is giving serious consideration to doing more than breakfast and lunch. He said they want to adding dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.
He said the restaurant has stood firm on family recipes. They’ve only had three official cooks in the nearly 60 years of existence.
“My mom, my brother and myself,” Garcia said.
Pork chop, carne guisada, burgers and brisket at the hottest items on the menu. Brisket trumps them all.
“For Christmas---on the holidays they’ll probably sell about 500-600 pounds that week,” He said.
The kitchen is small yet does not confine the tasty food customers have come to expect. Walk in and you’ll see carne guisada boiling in a 56-year-old pot, homemade tortillas dropping out of a machine and borracho beans sizzling on the stove.
Neighborhood Eats was provided with a Garcia’s Mexican Food sampler. The tasting started with a the borracho beans which are cooked in a cast iron skillet with bacon grease, jalapenos and the holy grail of Mexican seasonings. Delicious!
Their popular carne guisada on a cloud like tortilla was next. Love it!
The enchiladas con chile was good too. But Neighborhood Eats had heard so much about the brisket the anticipation escalated the taste experience.
This taste tester liked the hot selling brisket taco with guacamole. It was the brisket plate with rice and beans that made Neighborhood Eats a believer. The meat given extra seasoning and given sear marks on a grill for an extra burst of flavor. ¡Qué Rico!
Overall: Garcia’s Mexican Food is a unicorn in a business desert. The Tex-Mex fare is on par with a good neighborhood restaurant. The addition of brisket to their menu was a smart move. In 2005, the Garcia’s started calling their restaurant the home of the brisket taco. I agree their brisket has turned that house into a home.
Give Marvin your review of Garcia’s Mexican Food. If you have a restaurant or food truck suggestion for Marvin send him an email (Mhurst@kens5.com), tweet (@Mhurstkens5) or post it on his Facebook page. #KENS5EATS