A Tex Mex favorite is reborn.
Chuy Arzolas reopens in a new location but with the same authentic cuisine.
When an established local favorite reopens in a new location—and in Chuy Arzola’s case, with new owners working alongside the longtime original proprietors— it faces tougher critics than when a new restaurant simply opens. The owners are challenged to not only win over curious new diners, but also the loyal regulars who frequented the previous spot. The original Chuy Arzola’s, located in Dogtown for over 20 years, had a devoted following of neighborhood residents and St. Louisans. Diners instantly acclimated to the bustling, high-energy atmosphere, and no one could resist partaking in one of their potent margaritas, chicken fajita platters or chimichanga plates. So when Coby Arzola, son of founder Eddie Arzola, announced last year that this legendary spot was shuttering—albeit temporarily— needless to say, some felt a loss.
A Recreated Classic
Thankfully, the Arzola family was determined to reopen and reinvigorate the Chuy’s brand, and after partnering with Gurpreet Padda and Ami Grimes (the duo behind Café Ventana), the restaurant was reborn in Midtown in the former Joe Boccardi’s Ristorante. Both card-carrying members of Chuy’s original locale and first-timers alike will love this cantina. The new location features the bright colors of the Southwest, and the walls are adorned with cowboy and Texan artifacts. The large sunken patio presents an optimal place to perch during nice weather and feels sequestered despite bordering busy Lindell Boulevard. There’s also live music Thursday through Saturday.
A well-sized basket of chips and house-made salsa arrives first, and your visit would not be complete without ordering the freshly made guacamole to go with it. The texture is chunky, with bits of tomatoes and red onion. The jalapeño hush puppies are my top pick for appetizers; three cornmeal-battered and fried jalapeños stuffed with a thick mix of ground beef, rice and cheddar cheese—they are crispy and pleasantly spicy. Diners who want to spend their money wisely will be comforted with the prices—plates are under $12 and include generous servings of rice, beans, pico de gallo and/or guacamole.
Chuy’s expansive patio is prime for margarita-sipping.
Photo credit: Liz Reiff Sloan