Mexican restaurant serves up taste, value

Tucked away on Pulido Street next to the Mecca for sororities and fraternities, Brown Bag, Pulido’s is a little Mexican joint that claims to have the best reasonably priced Mexican food in town. After hearing friends rave, especially about Pulido’s breakfast, I had to check it out for myself.Just off West Vickery Boulevard, Pulido’s appears to be one of those old-fashioned mom and pop restaurants you hear about from the ’60s. The owner greets you at the door, and I noticed most people migrate to their usual tables as they catch up with their waiter. It’s obvious that after you go to Pulido’s once, you’ll fast become a regular.

I sat in a little booth against the wall and observed the plain d‚cor. Pulido’s won’t remind you of mass Mexican chains like On the Border. Things appear to be unchanged for the past dozen years or so, but the warmth of the staff and the cheap prices immediately distracted me from the mundane atmosphere.

The food is extremely reasonably priced. I was forced to wonder if the portions were accordingly small. A breakfast burrito is only $2, ranking in price behind fast food Mexican such as Alvarado’s and even Taco Bell.

For breakfast, Pulido’s serves a full Mexican fare, including specialties like chilaquiles (fried tortilla strips with sweet peppers and onions, scrambled eggs and cheese) and, my personal favorite, huevos rancheros.

If you’re not down with Mexican breakfast, though, Pulido’s also serves all-American items such as eggs and toast, pancakes and omelets.

As I waited for my food, our waitress rushed out coffee and orange juice. This wasn’t just any orange juice, but fresh squeezed from a juicer sitting atop the bar in the back of the restaurant.

Between myself and my two companions, I was able to sample a few different menu items. The pancakes were thick and fluffy, buttery and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The pancakes at Pulido’s by far beat out ones at other breakfast hangouts like IHOP or Old South Pancake House.

The breakfast burrito was huge, and though my friend added in a few extra items, it still rang up at just $2.

My huevos rancheros, two eggs with ranchero sauce, beans and Mexican potatoes, was the best I had ever had north of the border.

To top it all off, everyone’s meal comes with sopapilla chips covered in cinnamon and sugar. Delicious.

Making Pulido’s even more worthwhile to check out is its local TCU flare. Pulido, an ’85 TCU graduate, was a cheerleader and a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at TCU. He went into the restaurant business with his dad and grandfather and now owns 11 Pulido’s restaurants and various things like a tortilla and tamale factory.

Pulido said he “loves” TCU and is happy to cater many TCU events.

“My dad and I both went to TCU, and my dad actually started Pulido’s while a student at TCU,” Pulido said. “TCU has really supported us from the get go.”

Pulido said his dad started the restaurant in 1966 and believes its spread has been because of its good food, reasonable prices and the friendly nature of the staff.

“I know almost everyone coming in,” Pulido said. “We’re very people-oriented.”

Senior accounting major Kelly McCain said Pulido’s is not only the best Mexican restaurant, but also Rob Pulido is one of the nicest people.

“I have loved Pulido’s since I first came in,” McCain said. “It’s a great deal for the money, especially for a sit down restaurant. I got to know Rob too, and he always makes a point of coming over to my table and saying hi.”

McCain said over the weeks Pulido even offered him a job after he mentioned he was looking for a part time gig to work with his school schedule.

“Not many people just offer away work, but Rob loves TCU and TCU students, and bends over backwards to help the TCU community,” he said.

Breakfast at Pulido’s is served daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., but if you’re not an early riser, the lunch and dinner fare is also reasonably priced with large portions. On Friday and Saturday’s from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., margaritas run for the bargain deal of $1, which makes Pulido’s one of the cheapest weekend happy hour spots in town.