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). :)
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.
9826 Gilead Rd
Huntersville, NC 28078