Things just got interesting in Inver Grove Heights. That is, when it comes to the battle for the Mexican restaurant dining dollar.
Because just like that, Inver Grove Heights has three Mexican restaurants to choose from, including two that have similar names, similar menus and similar locations.
Confused? Understandable. Here’s the deal:
Restaurant Rincon Mexicano has been open for over a year and is located at 3064 65th Street East, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076. It’s commonly known as the Mexican restaurant next to SnapFitness.
Taqueria El Rincon is located at 6550 Cahill Avenue, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076. It’s been open for about 10 days and is commonly known as the Mexican restaurant in the old J’s Fish and Chicken location.
El Azteca opened in late summer 2015 and is your traditional full-service, sit down Mexican restaurant and is located at 5816 Blaine Avenue, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076. It’s also known as the Mexican restaurant located in the former Old World Pizza location.
What you need to know
If you want a traditional sit-down restaurant experience, head to El Azteca. This is where you get the chips and salsa, margarita’s (tequila too, if you really want to step it up a notch!), and a menu featuring a combination of authentic Mexican dishes and tex-max platters. After a slow start,
El Azteca has greatly improved in quality and service. Read more about El Azteca in the article 5 reasons to give El Azteca Mexican restaurant a second chance.
What you really want to know about?
The question everyone has now is this: What’s better Taqueria El Rincon or Restaurant Rincon Mexicano?
Here is our opinion: We’ve had the Carne Asada, pollo (chicken) and cecina (beef) tacos at Taqueria El Rincon. Served on soft corn tortillas, all tacos come with heaping helpings of meat, cilantro and onions. We’re talking fall-out-of-the-taco sized portions. We liked the Asada the best – the chicken and beef were decent, more bland than flavorful, but not bad. There was so much meat we actually took some of it and put it in another tortilla shell we had at home and created two more small tacos.
We also had the carnitas burrito. It came stuffed with beans, rice, guacamole (which wasn’t an extra charge), lettuce, onions, cilantro and sauce for $8.50. This is a massive burrito. And it was amazing. The flavor was great. But it was a complete mess. We’re talking, you’re going to need an entire roll of paper towels to keep your hands clean when eating this burrito. And the bottom of the burrito was wet and soggy by the time we got home to eat it (within 5 minutes of leaving). If you get this to go and head back to work, be sure to bring an extra shirt, and some stretch pants. It can also realistically feed two people – even though we know there are plenty who will take pride in devouring the massive burrito (we wonder how many burritos the person who devoured the Mother of All Burgers at B52 could put down?).
We ate about half of this burrito and were stuffed. And by the time we got halfway through the burrito it was impossible to keep everything together and food was falling everywhere so we scraped the remaining insides of the burrito into the container and will use that and the leftover extra meat from the beef taco to have tacos later. Excellent tasting burrito, hard to eat.
Taqueria El Rincon is off to a good start – most people seem to love the large portions and taste. The tacos are good, not great. The burrito was great, but a complete mess.
As for Restaurant Rincon Mexicano, unfortunately, it’s all about location, and something tells us the current location – you know – next to SnapFitness – is going to hurt business. People are picky when it comes to these things and if they can go to Taqueria El Rincon because it’s easier to get in and out, they will.
But, in our opinion, the tacos are better at Restaurant Rincon Mexicano. The Carne Asada is more flavorful. The tamales are good. The green sauce (salsa verde) is on our list of 5 food items everyone in Inver Grove Heights must try. Restaurant Rincon Mexicano also serves up tasty tamales (even though always seem to be out of them) and the burritos are also good (we liked the chicken and carne asada). It’s not as massive as Taqueria El Rincon burrito, but it also isn’t as messy. And we like that better. Restaurant Rincon Mexicano also has more items on their menu and most everything we’ve had there is good.
In a way, we feel bad for Restaurant Rincon Mexicano. They came into town and were just what everyone wanted – an authentic Mexican restaurant that served up relatively inexpensive tacos, tamales, burritos and other authentic Mexican food. It was something people wanted for years. And TC Taco wasn’t cutting it and this was the perfect fit for those who love authentic Mexican food. But now Taqueria El Rincon comes into town, with a similar name, and similar menu, but with an easier location to find and get to. It’s the hot new restaurant in town. We loved trying Taqueria El Rincon, but felt like we were cheating on Restaurant Rincon Mexicano. It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out over time. Note: The word rincón can be translated to ‘spot’, ‘place’ or ‘corner’ (like a corner in a room). It can also mean ‘remote corner’ or ‘outpost’.
In a perfect world, both Restaurant Rincon Mexicano and Taqueria El Rincon will make it, and we will be fortunate to have not one, but two authentic Mexican restaurants serving good takeout food (both also have seating for those who want to eat in) and another (El Azteca) that offers a traditional sit-down dining experience. Add to that, Asi Es Mexico recently opened in South Saint Paul.
It’s all happening very fast. This is a good problem for local Mexican food enthusiasts, but could be a challenge for business owners.
Can two restaurants with similar names, in similar locations, with similar menus both make a go of it in Inver Grove Heights.
We sure hope so. Because just like that, Inver Grove Heights is a hotbed of Mexican restaurants.