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Chuy's of Plano is Still Serving the Freshest Tex-Mex Since 1982

By Marina Jokic

The original Chuy's opened on April 16, 1982 in what used to be an abandoned Texas Barbeque joint on iconic Barton Springs Road in Austin. The seating capacity was sixty, the restrooms were hardly comfortable or accessible, but the founders Mike Young and John Zapp were on their way to creating their vision for Chuy's. Young and Zapp worked tirelessly for years to achieve their dream, and from these humble beginnings was born the Chuy's of today.

Marco Herrera, Owner and Operator at the Plano location, tells us that the founders grew up in southern Texas, just north of the Mexican border and wanted to bring the traditional recipes of their childhood to the public. "Their commitment to food is still the core of everything Chuy's does today," says Herrera.

Many of their recipes originate from southwestern traditional cuisine, like their fajita marinade, an old South Texas family recipe. One way in which Chuy's distinguishes itself from the competition is by using the freshest possible ingredients and taking great care in preparing the food. "We roast our peppers every day, the tortillas are hand rolled and cooked on a traditional comal, even our margaritas are made with freshly squeezed lime juice," says Herrera.

Herrera says the restaurant prides itself on making almost every item on their menu from scratch. Painstakingly hand-rolling each tortilla is just one way they stay true to the Tex-Mex tradition. Many entrees integrate green chilies, or chile verde, a staple food in southern New Mexico. To ensure the freshest quality chilies from the harvest, Chuy's sends a team of managers from across the country to their farms in Hatch, New Mexico to help farmers make the selections.

Every year, they harvest over two million pounds of green chilies from Hatch. To mark the occasion, Chuy's hosts their annual Green Chile Festival, a three-week celebration in August featuring the staple vegetable. In addition, the restaurant offers a special menu for the duration of the festivities with giveaways and other fun activities.

Some of the most popular dishes from the menu are the Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom Enchiladas with roasted chicken and the Boom-Boom sauce, made with cheese roasted New Mexican Green Chiles, tomatillos, green onions, cilantro and lime juice. The Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken breaded with Lay's Potato Chips and smothered in Green Chile Sauce and cheddar cheese is another favorite.

Herrera points out that the restaurant's role in the community doesn't only center on food. Chuy's has built a strong relationship with the local RoughRiders Foundation and staffs and cooks for their largest fundraiser, the Riders Classic Golf Tournament in June every year. The foundation grants $10,000 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors across the Dallas Forth Worth area.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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