Chuy's, one of Austin, Texas' most popular restaurant concepts, has arrived in South Florida – and it even has its own shrine to Elvis.
The Pembroke Pines restaurant opened on February 16, and marks the 93rd restaurant overall for the established brand, which opened its first restaurant 38 years ago.
The concept is the vision of founders Mike Young and John Zapp, who had a vision of creating a fun, funky Tex-Mex restaurant. Founded in 1982, the Chuy's chain has since spread its vision of authentic Tex-Mex to over 95 locations nationwide.
Young and Zapp will tell you their first restaurant opened in an old, abandoned Texas barbeque joint on Barton Springs Road in Austin, Texas. Built on a budget, the duo's "decorator" — affectionatley referenced as Jose Cuervo — helped them to make some eclectic decor decisions. Today, the funky touches — like hubcaps hanging above your booth to the Elvis shrine — are still alive today.
At Chuy's Pembroke Pines, a variety of rooms that keep the chain's motto alive, "If you've seen one Chuy's, you've seen one Chuy's." Along with its own Elvis Shrine, you'll also see a school of hand-carved wooden fish on the ceiling at the La Chihuahua Bar. The bar also features pictures of local dogs from the Pembroke Pines community. Anytime you bring a framed photo of your dog to Chuy’s, they'll add it to the wall — and give you a free appetizer.
Today, the restaurant is best known for preparing true Tex-Mex food. Chuy’s dishes go deep into the heart of Tex-Mex witht a menu that offers family recipes culled from South Texas, New Mexico, the Rio Grande Valley, and the area's neighboring Mexican border towns.
According to Chuy's field marketing manager Holly Robbins, everything at Chuy's is made in-house — and most of it prepared to-order. Don't believe her? Ask to see the freezer — it's alleged to be the size of the one you have at home.
"From our handmade corn and flour tortillas made fresh all day long and eight signature sauces to fresh-squeezed lime juice for a perfect margarita," Robbins says. "Every day starts with the freshest ingredients."
Standout menu items will include the As Big As Yo’ Face Steak Burrito, a flour tortilla stuffed with grilled steak that is marinated in Shiner Bock Beer and spices, plus jack cheese, topped with the restaurant's Hatch Green Chile sauce; Chicken Flautas, corn tortillas filled with roasted chicken and cheese, rolled, fried and topped with smoky Chipotle sauce and served with guacamole and sour cream; and Steak or Chicken Fajitas, meat marinated for 24 hours in the signature Shiner Bock beer, serrano peppers, lime juice, and secret spices.
At Chuy's, the hand-rolled enchiladas are something special, adds Robbins. Every dish is made fresh to-order, from the roasted chicken that's hand-pulled before serving, to the corn tortiallas that are rolled just minutes before cooking.
"Chuy's Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom Enchiladas are a special dish," says Robbins. "We have a long-standing love affair with Hatch Green Chiles and our chefs are always coming up with new and fun sauces, which is how Chuy's Boom Boom sauce was born. At Chuy's, we like to say, 'we all need a little boom-boom in our life.'"
The sauce gets its name from the restaurant's signature chiles, which are grown for us in Hatch, New Mexico. Blended with serranos, spices, green onions, and cilantro and melted into a creamy shredded cheese, it's the perfect compliment to smother over handmade corn tortillas stuffed with chicken.
Chuy’s cocktail lineup will feature all the greats — great margaritas, that is — from Chuy’s Famous Ritas, scratch-made margaritas with fresh-squeezed lime juice, served on the rocks or frozen to the hand-shaken Original Texas Tini, served in an 18-ounce shaker with a salt-rimmed martini glass and jalapeño-stuffed olives. Additional libations on offer include Texas-Sized Drinks including Tito’s Cherry Limeade – fresh lime juice and cherries spike with Tito’s Handmade vodka; and New Mexican Martini – el Jimador Silver tequila infused with green chiles and Cointreau, served with a salt-rim and jalapeño-stuffed olives. Chuy’s will also serve a variety of domestic and premium beers and wine by the glass or bottle.
"We're thrilled to be opening our doors to the Broward community following an unexpected year," says Chuy's area director Jack Baum. "Pembroke Pines is an exciting, growing community hungry for new and fun places to dine and drink, making it the perfect location for our newest Chuy’s."
Chuy’s Pembroke Pines. 10610 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines. The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.