Day Trips: Joe T. Garcia’s Restaurant, Ft. Worth

Iconic Mexican food restaurant serves a river of patrons by offering a limited menu

Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Joe T. Garcia's Mexican Restaurant in Ft. Worth may be the most famous taqueria in the Panther City, but that doesn't mean you should avoid it. At least once.

This north side institution has been dishing out the beans and rice since 1935, and they do a lot of things right. The long lines at suppertime usually move fairly quickly as the staff steadily flip the tables. Still, it's not uncommon to wait an hour or more at peak times.

The ornate dining hall and luxurious patio are deceptively spacious with a seating capacity of 1,000. Attractive young waitstaff deliver the evening meal in a matter of minutes after you order. Their efficiency is helped by a menu limited to two basic choices – fajitas or cheese enchiladas.

Either selection offers generous portions, but the kitchen caters to a clientele preferring mild flavors. The salsa, on the other hand, is chunky and spicy enough to wake up either dish.

Joe T. Garcia's is owned by descendants of the founders and occupies the same corner at 2201 N. Commerce St. in Ft. Worth. It's not far from the historic Stockyards tourist district, which explains how so many out-of-towners find the place. Unless you enjoy long conversations while waiting for a seat, only go on weekday afternoons.

If you're willing to forgo bragging rights earned by a visit to the Mexican food icon, try Joe T.'s sister restaurants. Esperanza's Bakery and Cafe at 2122 Main St. and 1601 Park Place Ave. are excellent alternatives. The menus are more varied and feature some of the Garcia family recipes, including Joe T.'s famous enchiladas.

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Joe T. Garcia's Restaurant, Ft. Worth, enchiladas, fajitas, Stockyards, Esperanza's

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