I was out efforting some errands (I like that strange verb) and found myself up the freeway beyond my usual traveling space. I knew I wouldn’t get home in time to eat leftovers and still make my afternoon appointment, so I reluctantly caved to schedule pressure and ate lunch out. At Casa Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina (#4) on I-35 in Round Rock.
Casa G’s, as we affectionately call it, has four stores in the greater Austin area. They’re all good, as far as I’m concerned. We have two within a few minutes’ drive of the house, so we’re doubly lucky. However, we don’t often get up to the #4 store in Round Rock. That’s a shame, as in some respects it’s the best of them all.
The store has good parking around it, with several shaded slots in the front yard. Believe me, with the Texas summer sun like it is, having a shaded spot to park while you eat is a big plus. The building was once a seafood diner, but the Garcia family has completely redone the décor and ambiance. Classic Mexico colors, with accents of pottery and knick-knacks strategically placed. Arches inside and out give a courtyard feel to the dining area without the need to be outside. This restaurant has a large bar, seating 20 or more, in the center. Partial walls, however, keep the dining areas from seeming like afterthoughts pasted onto a drinking establishment.
Having a full bar, though, is a distinct plus; especially if you enjoy a good margarita with your Tex-Mex meal.
It was lunch, though, so I reluctantly skipped the tequila. I was greeted promptly and with a big smile. As a party of one I was led to a smaller table back near the kitchen. Great, I thought. I could see the big-screen TV and watch the store operations too.
Marcia was my server, and she’s a bubbly sort. Not annoyingly so! just a good friend you haven’t seen in a while. I ordered the No. 3 Lunch: Beef taco, cheese enchilada, rice, beans and flour tortillas ($6.89). I ordered unsweetened tea as beverage. I opened my book to read, munch chips and salsa, and wait for my lunch to arrive.
I didn’t even get through the first page before Marcia was putting food on my table. It was an interesting touch, actually. The crispy beef taco was brought out separately from the main plate. This isn’t usually done with lunch platters; sometimes it’s not done with dinners. It’s extra work for everybody, but serving the taco separately (or tostado if you have that) keeps the taco from getting a soggy bottom. It’s the little things that make a great experience!
I wasn’t quite through with the taco when the rest of the meal showed up. Hot and tasty, it didn’t take me long to work my way through the enchilada and sides. I was satisfied without being stuffed; just the right size meal for a serious lunch. I was ready for my afternoon’s sessions in fine style. I settled up, waved goodbye to the staff and headed out.
A few days later, I mysteriously found myself in the same area of town, with the same problem: Lunch on my mind and not a lot of time available. Since Casa G’s had done such a good job for me previously, I tried them out again. This time the greeter recognized me and welcomed me as a return customer, a nice touch. I asked if Marcia was on for lunch, and he said yes and handed me over. I got a different table this time, a bit closer to the kitchen. (It’s good to be next to the kitchen.) With the Women’s World Cup game on the big screen I didn’t need a book this time.
Variety is one of the spices of life, so I
went completely wacky and ordered the No. 10 lunch: Beef taco, guacamole salad, queso in a tortilla cup, and a cheese enchilada. With chips and salsa, this is a fairly large lunch. The price was the same as before; all the Casa Garcia’s lunch specials are $6.89. I’d had way too much caffeine during the morning, so I declined the tea and went with good ol’ water.
Marcia gave outstanding service, and she also remembered me from previously. It’s a knack that good staff exhibit, and I was pleased to be treated almost as family.
The food lasted just long enough for me to watch the U.S.A. clinch another win in fine style. A most satisfactory start to the afternoon!
Next time you’re in the Round Rock area and hankerin’ for a great Tex-Mex meal with superior service, consider stopping by Casa Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina. Tell’em the Chile Doctor sent you, if you really want to confuse them…
Casa Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina #4, 1901 N. IH 35, Round Rock, TX 78664. Phone 512.218.8908. Great, inexpensive Tex-Mex and Mexican dining in a relaxed, traditional atmosphere. Open seven days a week, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Kid friendly. Full Bar. Happy Hour. Occasional live music.
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