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Shortage Alert — Authentic Mexican Restaurants in East Texas

Hulton Archive
Hulton Archive

Texas can brag about a lot of things, but not this.  Chicago has the most authentic, non-chain Mexican restaurants per capita, and other big cities in the US rank higher than places like San Antonio and Houston.  So what’s the closest place to us, with the most authentic Mexican food?  A three-hour road trip will get you the best empanadas.  

It makes sense that bigger cities will have a higher number of Mexican restaurants, because they’re bigger.  There’s more room for restaurants, and more people to eat there.

When considering the sheer number of authentic Mexican restaurants, Chicago is #1, then New York, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Diego.  Our other big Texas cities — San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin — are in the top ten.  Chicago has 225 authentic Mexican restaurants, and Houston has 177.  Just thinking about it begs for a road trip to go try every one of them.

What about the number of restaurants per person?  Humble, Texas, near Houston, is home to the most authentic Mexican restaurants per capita.  MarketWatch says Spring, TX, also near Houston, is #3, and Littleton, CO wedges in between for second place.  Humble has 7.3 authentic Mexican restaurants per 10,000 people, which should mean there’s plenty of Mom-and-Pop, Mexican home cooking for everyone.  These restaurants don’t fall into the category of Tex-Mex.  Although we love that too.

Having a lot of something doesn’t necessarily make it a favorite, and sometimes it doesn’t have to be “authentic” to love it.  Ninety-nine cent tacos at the drive-thru are fun to wolf down too sometimes.  But hey, East Texas, if you’re thinking about opening up an authentic Mexican restaurant, go for it!  If you build it, we will come.  We have room for a few more.


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