For today’s Taco Tuesday, AY About You heads to North Little Rock to visit Chuy’s on Warden Road.
On Cinco de Mayo this year, Chuy’s on Warden Road expected orders to slightly increase. Their dining rooms had been closed for a month by then, and they expected the holiday to increase their number of curbside pick-ups. When the day arrived, however, Chuy’s ended up with more people than they could had imagined.
“The back literally looked like we were tailgating at a Razorback’s football game,” says Pat McCleary, general manager at Chuy’s, describing the area where they fulfill to-go orders. Dozens of cars filled the parking lot, and the phone rang off the hook all day.
What drew such an overwhelming crowd of cars in the middle of a pandemic? Chuy’s and its to-go taco and fajita kits.
Chuy’s first opened in Austin in 1982, and has since expanded to serve Tex-Mex cuisine in more than 100 locations across the country. The North Little Rock location has been open for five and a half years, and despite not being an Arkansas-based chain, Chuy’s on Warden Road works hard to feel local. McCleary says it’s all about their food.
“We do everything from scratch,” McCleary says. “We make our own tres leches cake when nobody’s making their own desserts, we shred our own cheese, shred our own lettuce, marinate all of our own meats, and every sauce is made in this building. It’s hard to beat refried beans that were started at seven o’clock this morning,”
Chuy’s refashioned their normal menu into kits for to-go customers when they closed their dining rooms in March. Their best seller, the taco kits, come in half-dozen or dozen packs that have all the home-made ingredients that customers love.
“We actually take the time to hand fry every crispy shell, and again, you have fresh produce and fresh shredded cheese on top,” McCleary says. “You can get an assortment of crispy or soft tacos with chicken, beef, whatever you want to do. And then it’s also going to come with chips, salsa, creamy jalapeno and queso. So you get the whole thing.”
Chuy’s also has fajita kits available for to-go orders.
Fans of Chuy’s have plenty to look forward to in the next few months. Working off a limited menu, Chuy’s has reopened their dining rooms with all social distancing guidelines in place. McCleary hinted that customers can expect to see old favorites like the tortilla soup return to the menu in 2021.
Chuy’s is also ready to celebrate National Taco Day on Oct. 4, when they’ll be selling tacos for $1.50 each.
Chuy’s on Warden Road
Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Saturday
5105 Warden Rd
North Little Rock, AR 72116