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Eight Spots to Get Your Tex-Mex Fix

From breakfast tacos to bowls of red, we've got all your favorites and zero judgment.

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A key problem with the concept of authenticity as it relates to food is that it’s nativist, arbitrarily privileging geographically "pure" culinary traditions over immigrant ones. Sniffing that Tex-Mex isn’t authentically Mexican is like complaining that a mixed-breed puppy isn’t authentically a boxer because he’s half-rottweiler. He is what he is—and so are cuisines that developed organically from the integration of two (or more) different cultures. Tex-Mex may tend to be bigger, beefier, cheesier, and wheatier than its south-of-the-border counterparts, but it’s inherently neither better nor worse.

Which is all just an elaborate way of saying it’s A-OK to dig fajitas. Though the Austin-inspired Moontower Tacos es no más and actual Austin transplant Torchy’s Tacos has yet to open, there are plenty of other places to indulge your cravings for Lone Star-style comida.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 100% de Agave Mexican Grill & Cantina

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975 Lincoln St
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 731-1100
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Fajitas
This rather underrated Golden Triangle retreat serves fajitas with your choice of four meats, but stick with steak for the traditional experience. The sizzling platter comes with all the sides and condiments you’d expect—including cheddar, the liberal use of which is a hallmark of the genre.

2. D'Corazon

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1530 Blake St
Denver, CO 80202
(720) 904-8226
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Cheese and bean dips
Though they have clear antecedents in Mexico, bean dip and chile con queso are quintessentially Tex-Mex—as is the emphasis on cows over pigs. This ever-popular LoDo cantina adds beef to both sauces. You could call that totally gratuitous, or you could call it gratuitously awesome.

3. El Original Tacos Jalisco

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4309 W 38th Ave
Denver, CO 80212
(303) 458-1437
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Nachos
The nachos most of us know—a mound of tortilla chips blanketed in copious toppings—actually represent an even-more Americanized take on a dish that was Americanized from the get-go, having purportedly been invented just a few miles from the border by a Mexican chef who served some patrons from Texas a single layer of chips individually topped with cheese and jalapeños. This festive, family-friendly Berkeley fixture serves both a simple version closer to the original and two tricked out with all the trimmings, including guacamole, sour cream, green chile, and ground beef or fajita-style steak (or chicken).
http://s3-media2.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/Irh1f2oi-itK3bCBIzS8rw/o.jpg

4. Kachina Southwestern Grill

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10600 Westminster Blvd
Westminster, CO 80020
(303) 410-5813
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Chili con carne and cowboy beans
From the home-on-the-range era of campfires and chuckwagons come two classics Texans are militant about: that bowl of red had better be frijole-free, but if it comes with beans on the side, they’d better be pinto, as is the case at this upscale Westminster watering hole.

5. La Fuente

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3023 W 44th Ave
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 477-5501
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Combination plates
One of everything: it’s the American way, so the fact that combo platters were born in the state where everything’s bigger to begin with should come as no surprise. This old favorite offers a number of them, variously featuring enchiladas, burritos, tacos, tostadas, chile rellenos, and/or tamales.
http://s3-media3.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/VKGFhvm-CGRjBWypT-vajw/o.jpg

6. Mexico City Restaurant & Lounge

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2115 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205
(303) 296-0563
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Fried tacos
This decades-old Ballpark fixture remains one of Denver’s only outlets for the fresh-fried or “crispy” tacos that San Antonio’s known for (along with their close cousin, the puffy taco).

7. Pinche Tacos

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3300 W 32nd Ave
Denver, CO 80211
(720) 502-4608
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Breakfast tacos
Kevin Morrison isn’t the only chef to bring the Austin tradition of breakfast tacos to Denver, but he’s certainly one of the best, deftly incorporating eggs and hash-browned potatoes into his typically inspired topping combos: think lamb and brussels sprouts or agave-fried chicken and chimichurri.

8. Rusty Taco

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1760 S Havana St
Aurora, CO 80012
(303) 369-1125
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Brisket and picadillo tacos
Slow-roasted brisket tacos hail from Dallas, as does the Rusty franchise itself, which serves them three different ways (plain, with barbecue sauce, and with egg and cheese for breakfast). Another common Texas taco filling, the ground-beef mixture called picadillo, also makes an appearance here.

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1. 100% de Agave Mexican Grill & Cantina

975 Lincoln St, Denver, CO 80203
Fajitas
This rather underrated Golden Triangle retreat serves fajitas with your choice of four meats, but stick with steak for the traditional experience. The sizzling platter comes with all the sides and condiments you’d expect—including cheddar, the liberal use of which is a hallmark of the genre.
975 Lincoln St
Denver, CO 80203

2. D'Corazon

1530 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202
Cheese and bean dips
Though they have clear antecedents in Mexico, bean dip and chile con queso are quintessentially Tex-Mex—as is the emphasis on cows over pigs. This ever-popular LoDo cantina adds beef to both sauces. You could call that totally gratuitous, or you could call it gratuitously awesome.
1530 Blake St
Denver, CO 80202

3. El Original Tacos Jalisco

4309 W 38th Ave, Denver, CO 80212
http://s3-media2.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/Irh1f2oi-itK3bCBIzS8rw/o.jpg
Nachos
The nachos most of us know—a mound of tortilla chips blanketed in copious toppings—actually represent an even-more Americanized take on a dish that was Americanized from the get-go, having purportedly been invented just a few miles from the border by a Mexican chef who served some patrons from Texas a single layer of chips individually topped with cheese and jalapeños. This festive, family-friendly Berkeley fixture serves both a simple version closer to the original and two tricked out with all the trimmings, including guacamole, sour cream, green chile, and ground beef or fajita-style steak (or chicken).
4309 W 38th Ave
Denver, CO 80212

4. Kachina Southwestern Grill

10600 Westminster Blvd, Westminster, CO 80020
Chili con carne and cowboy beans
From the home-on-the-range era of campfires and chuckwagons come two classics Texans are militant about: that bowl of red had better be frijole-free, but if it comes with beans on the side, they’d better be pinto, as is the case at this upscale Westminster watering hole.
10600 Westminster Blvd
Westminster, CO 80020

5. La Fuente

3023 W 44th Ave, Denver, CO 80211
http://s3-media3.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/VKGFhvm-CGRjBWypT-vajw/o.jpg
Combination plates
One of everything: it’s the American way, so the fact that combo platters were born in the state where everything’s bigger to begin with should come as no surprise. This old favorite offers a number of them, variously featuring enchiladas, burritos, tacos, tostadas, chile rellenos, and/or tamales.
3023 W 44th Ave
Denver, CO 80211

6. Mexico City Restaurant & Lounge

2115 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
Fried tacos
This decades-old Ballpark fixture remains one of Denver’s only outlets for the fresh-fried or “crispy” tacos that San Antonio’s known for (along with their close cousin, the puffy taco).
2115 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205

7. Pinche Tacos

3300 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
Breakfast tacos
Kevin Morrison isn’t the only chef to bring the Austin tradition of breakfast tacos to Denver, but he’s certainly one of the best, deftly incorporating eggs and hash-browned potatoes into his typically inspired topping combos: think lamb and brussels sprouts or agave-fried chicken and chimichurri.
3300 W 32nd Ave
Denver, CO 80211

8. Rusty Taco

1760 S Havana St, Aurora, CO 80012
Brisket and picadillo tacos
Slow-roasted brisket tacos hail from Dallas, as does the Rusty franchise itself, which serves them three different ways (plain, with barbecue sauce, and with egg and cheese for breakfast). Another common Texas taco filling, the ground-beef mixture called picadillo, also makes an appearance here.
1760 S Havana St
Aurora, CO 80012

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