Monday, May 18, 2009

Tijuana Flats (Huntersville)

Last week I agreed to cat-sit this weekend for my friend. As a reward, I was treated to lunch at Tijuana Flats (TF). TF is is just on Gilead Road across from the Bi-Lo, in the same strip-mall as the Starbucks and the Five Guys. They've got a prime location in that mall since their outdoor seating is next to a water feature / fountain.

We walked in and were greeted by a friendly TF staff member, and I thought she was going to seat us. Instead she took our drink orders, and then walked behind the counter to the register where she took our orders. We looked over the menu, and it took me a few minutes to make up my mind. I wanted a burrito, but the menu is soooo visually busy, I needed an adjustment period to figure out what I was reading.

Since I'm always in the mood for a burrito, that's what I chose. I went for a Regular (the smallest of three sizes, but still huge) Beef Burrito with everything. Everything includes: lettuce, tomato, onions, jalapenos, sour cream, and black olives.

After my friend paid (THANKS!!), we went outside, took a seat near the fountain, and had a sip of our drinks. After we realized that we were given each others drink -- a Diet Coke for me, and a Diet Mr. Pibb for my friend -- we switched drinks, and enjoyed the weather.

I went back inside to check out their hot sauce bar. They've got a LOT there. I'm guessing about 20 different types of hot sauce. Ranging from mild to scalding, they've got something for everyone. To be honest, I would have preferred a salsa bar. Hot sauce is good, but the fresh veggies (i.e. tomatoes, onions, and cilantro) in salsa is better. *Yes, I know that tomatoes are technically a fruit -- no angry e-mails please. :)

I grabbed some rather mild sauce, and headed back outside. Shortly thereafter our food what brought to our table. This confused me -- is this place fast food? Or a restaurant? The service and food were something in between.

The burrito which came with tortilla chips was a dense, heavy burrito. Not just in weight, but in taste as well. This was probably because there was no rice in it. As I ate, I poured in different hot sauces to get different flavors, and I kinda enjoyed this. I felt like a mad scientist, creating different flavors for my amusement.

All in all, the food and service were OK, and the atmosphere there is -- different. The outside is nice and relaxing with the water feature. However, the inside contains large, EXTREMELY colorful murals that go straight to the visual cortex -- sorta like a Mexican inspired acid trip (not that I would know, of course). :)

Atmosphere: 3/5
Food: 3/5
Service: 3/5
Total: 9/15
Price: $ (under $10)

Kid Friendly: Yes. They have a kids menu and your children will probably like the colorful murals in the back.

Conclusion: The whole "fast casual" dining concept kinda throws me off kilter.... do I leave a tip or not? Either way the food, service and atmosphere were all average. Nothing special. I will probably go here again, but I'm not in a rush.

Restaurant Info:
Tijuana Flats
9826 Gilead Rd
# C101
Huntersville, NC 28078
p) 704-948-6242


  1. The teens in the area LOVE this place. Its a really fun, safe place for them to "hang out". I recommend the flautas if you again. By the way.. their website is also a jog to the brain!

  2. You're absolutely correct. I meant to say something about the website, but I forgot to in the final edit.

    The TF website is awesome, but very busy as well. Personally, I liked the rocket! But the 1 page menu was approx 20 Megabytes! THAT's a long download even on hi-speed!

  3. I could not disagree with you anymore...rice in a burrito? That's not Tex-Mex that Moe's and Chiptole burrito filler. But if you wanted rice in the burrito-why not order it that way? Service when I went was great! Great enough to leave a tip. When do you tip? When service goes beyond a cash register. You said you were greeted? Did they check on you when you were eating? Refills, etc? That would be service deserving of a tip.
    Over all T Flats is the best Tex-Mex hands down. If you are going to write a review about something and want people to take it serious, why not try more then one item and visit at least twice? And how can you really experience the decor/vibe when you were sitting outside? I guess during the few minutes it took you to order and try sauces??? Nice!

  4. Geez Anonymous, such vitriol from somebody who doesn't want to be identified!

    I'm guessing you work at TF for the crankiness about the tip. But I was curious about the tip policy is a fast-ish food restaurant -- as I stated in the review I was being treated to lunch, so it was not my place to leave a tip. In all honesty, I don't know if a tip was left or not.

    As for the burrito, I respectfully disagree. I've had better burritos at Emil's, Qdoba, Salsarita's, Moe's, Burrito Brothers, Baja Fresh, Del Taco, etc. The burrito I had was good, but certainly not noteworthy.

    And really? Criticizing my opinion of the interior? Really? Dude, that's just my opinion. If you wanna decorate your house to look like a mexican-inspired acid trip -- be my guest.

  5. We absolutely LOVE Tijuana Flats. Personally, I can't stand rice in a burrito and look at it as cheap filler, so I like that they use only meat. The flautas are my favorite, so I have to agree w/Laurie in her post. The hot sauce bar is a neat way to try different tastes. I do agree w/you about the concept of fast-casual being confusing and all. I've never seen people leave a tip so I've never left one, either.

  6. Loved this place and can't believe it closed being so busy!

  7. Tijuana Flats is so good. But you ordered the wrong thing. You should go back and order either soft tacos with chicken w everything or the mexican pizza with red sauce (not on the menu) with ground beef. Both are delicious. My fiance is a burrito lover, but did not like the burrito from there. He loves the mexican pizza though!(go on taco tuesdaze and get 2 tacos chips and a drink for 5.99!)