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The Early Word on Boulder Tex-Mex Spot Zanitas

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Photo: Facebook

Over two months ago casual dining restaurant Zanitas Mexican and Margaritas appeared on the food scene, bringing $2.99 margaritas and crunchy deep fried "Zookies" to hungry Boulder palates. Led by owner Nick Hayes and Certified Master Chef Ed Janos (Chez Raphael in Novi, Michigan and Cook's Fresh Market in Denver), the Tex-Mex joint plans to "do for Mexican what 'Pei Wei did for Chinese.'" Though residents were initially jazzed to have a taco spot in town that wasn't Chipotle or Qdoba, since its doors opened reviewers have been unsettled by long waits, sub-par food, and pricey entrees. Here's the early word on Zanitas.

The Good News: One Facebook user loves the drinks: "The 2.99 Margs All Day sign brought me in. To my huge surprise- you even make them with real lime juice and NOT that awful sweet n sour! :D Legit! The tacos (on special also-yay!!!) were phenomenal! My fave so far is the Eddielicious and the salsas were just bomb. I WILL BE BACK! :D Nick- pleasure to meet you also!" [Facebook]

The Bad News: One Yelper isn't impressed: "The place looks good but the food isn't so great. For the amount of food that you get the wait time was way too long.... All I ordered was a quesadilla with chicken and a burrito bowl and the food came out 15 minutes later. This might have been acceptable had there been many people in line or customers who were waiting for their food. But this wasn't the case there were barely any people there and there was no line before me.. ?The burrito bowl is not even halfway full. I got steak and chicken and pork and I don't understand why I have to pay four more dollars because of the extra meat when there is barely meat in the bowl to begin with. I ended up paying $22 (TOO PRICEY FOR WHAT THEY OFFER) for the burrito bowl and the quesadilla. In my opinion as a college student who has to work for everything I buy I would rather go to QDoba and spend half that amount of money and leave with a full stomach.. It's really amazing how small the burrito bowl was. And both menu items I ordered weren't even that good.. I was really disappointed, because it looks modern and like a place with good, big portions. I couldnt be more wrong. Nice waitstaff and there are many people there to assist you when you need them but overall I would spend my hard earned money at Qdoba or chipotle..." [Yelp]

The Atmosphere News: A reviewer from CU Independent observes: "I walked into Zanita's expecting the usual displacement of culture that these so called "Mexican" places always seem to have, forgetting that the food they're serving is best served with a side of sabor. At first glance, Zanita's was just that, with an industrial menu and a bar that screamed "lets get drunk!" The atmosphere doesn't make for a place that I would take anyone on a first or second date, but maybe our third, unless I was trying to get to a fourth. The style is fast-casual: place your order, grab a number and wait for your food – an awkward hybrid between Chipotle and The Med." [CU Independent]

The Value News: One Tweeter praises: "Free chips and dips @zanitas @ellenfavalle #goodstuff" [Twitter]

The Out of Town News: On Facebook some vacationers rave about the zookie: "Stopped in for lunch a couple of times last week while vacationing in the area and loved it. Was able to try several of the menu options as well as the margaritas and dessert in the form of a mouthwatering "Zookie". Thank you Zanitas for an awesome experience!" [Facebook]

The Great News: Another Yelper finds family deals: "My new favorite place in Boulder. Killer food, awesome Margaritas (be careful with them.) The goat cheese quesadilla is fantastic my kid liked the mac-n-cheese taco and I had a $2 breakfast taco that had a high 'bang-to-buck' ratio. Don't know if they do that every day." [Yelp]

The Margarita News: A user on Foursquare recommends: "Try the twister margarita! Best on the hill!!" [Foursquare]

The Wait News: Over on Yelp, a reviewer describes her experience: "This looks like a fun and fast tex-mex place. I had a quesadilla with chicken and goat cheese, which was good. My husband got two tacos which were just ok, mine was way better though. We went during a busy time, and the kitchen got pretty backed up, and my food came out 25 minutes before my husband's. The staff were reeeally generous, & very sorry for all the wait. I would def go back and try it again when it's not super busy. Great to visit boulder, walk around, and wonder to find good food. Beyond the dilla, I also recommend the salsa & chips! Mmm." [Yelp]

· All Zanitas Coverage [EDen]
— Ashley Mason


1352 College Ave Boulder, CO 80302