Not many Tex-Mex chain restaurants in Tallahassee are worthy of recognition. Tijuana Flats on Mahan is the exception. Knowing there are only so many ways to spin tortillas, cheese, beans, and meat, they put their energy into other areas that keep people coming back for more.
We went to Tijuana Flats on a recent Tuesday with our newest food allies: Ashley, Mindy and Susan. Talk about VIPs. Not only did the whole wait staff know them by name but knew exactly what food to bring them at our table! It seemed as though everyone was a regular there. The waitresses scurry around like worker bees in a hive. Our waitress didn’t let two minutes pass before she would ask if we needed anything. As first time guests, we got a free basket of chips and two salsas. The manager stopped by to check on us. Upon hearing the salsa bar didn’t have Mindy’s favorite hot sauce, he ran to the back and got her a complimentary bottle. The staff and management get a ton of credit for making this place work so well.
The highlight of the trip for me was definitely the hot sauce bar. They probably had just under 20 hot sauces available, some so incendiary that they carried a warning! The sauces’ heat range from “sissy sauces” to “death wish”. The hottest sauce I could find on the bar that night was one called Green Ghost, which was made from the renowned Naga Bhut Jolokia hot pepper. For you hot sauce aficionados, it clocked in at an impressive 1.2 million scoville units (jalapeno pepper=5000 scoville units). Heat is definitely my thing, but for those of you with more sensitive palettes, they have some wonderfully sweet, tangy, tingly sauces. Though not all are available at the hot sauce bar, here is a list of the hot sauces they sell.
Tijuana Flats also does two theme nights a week: Taco Tuesday and Throwback Thursday. You can get two tacos, chips and a drink for $4.99 every Tuesday. For $5.99 you get a burrito, chips and a drink on Thursday. A word of caution: both the restaurant and website share a form of avant-garde comic book decor that is very un-Tex-Mex. Just go with it!