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Tex-Mex Invasion: Chuy’s is Now Open Westminster

Chuy's, an Austin icon, arrives in Denver

Elvis Shrine, Chuy's

Austin, Texas, 1982: Two friends, Mike Young and John Zapp opened a Tex-Mex place called Chuy’s in an old abandoned barbecue joint. For décor, they employed a velvet Elvis, which was soon joined by guests’ own contributions of paraphernalia. Soon, the restaurant grew into a chain, and today and has multiple locations (our own Westminster location {6595 West 104th Avenue, Westminster; 303.469.9441} is the 87th) in 19 states. Each and every Chuy’s, though completely unique, share an Elvis shrine as a common theme.

Hubcap Room,  Chuy's

The Tex-Mex mecca has garnered a cult following on everything from their unique tee-shirts to their award-winning queso dip. Each Chuy’s location has a different theme, but Denver’s own outpost has its own something to write home about. The Chihuahua Bar, where happy hour is held Monday through Friday from 4-7pm, is covered in photos of visitors’ pups, and also features the back end of a vintage car that converts into a nacho bar. Another room (above) is wallpapered in hubcaps and antique cars painted on velvet.

Tortilla Making, Chuy's

The Art Room at our local Chuy’s is covered in original paintings sourced from Mexico, while the main dining room features metal palm trees, handmade by a multi-generational family operation in Mexico. Vintage family photos grace the walls, while more than a thousand wooden fish from a rustic Mexican village (a feature of all Chuy’s restaurants) swim along the ceiling. One of the chain’s important objectives is to maintain community relationships—the fish tradition began with the first restaurant, employing an artisan family, and has continued with the same family today, reviving their family woodcarving business.

Palm Tree Dining Room,  Chuy's

But beyond the kitschy vintage style seating, the dizzying tile, hand-painted signs, and the energetic tee-shirted staff, Chuy’s is about flavor. With an emphasis on fresh—the definition of Tex-Mex, you’ll find all your favorites on the menu, from Chiles Rellenos and Enchiladas to Fajitas and Burritos. Tortillas are handmade from scratch daily, fresh produce is delivered every day (their walk-in freezer, seen at most restaurants, is non-existent), and each of their seven sauces is made from scratch in small batches all day long. Elvis even makes an appearance on the menu, with the Elvis Green Chile Friend Chicken, which is breaded in Lay’s potato chips, fried, and smothered in cheese and green chile. Wash it down with a New Mexican Martini, a green chile-infused tequila, or a refreshing Watermelon Margarita. The Not Your Grandma’s Margarita is pumped up with Grand Marnier, while the Signature Margarita is a delicious classic. Chuy’s gives Denver a party for the palate … bringing the nation’s favorite Tex-Mex to town.

Tex-Mex spread, Chuy's

Rebecca Treon, Editor