By RICHARD DAVID CHAMBERLAIN
Tijuana Flats on East Sunrise Boulevard is a one-room joint of the place-yourorder and-wait-for-the-magic-tohappen type. Around 7 p.m. on any night, the place is a chatty, crazy kind of fun where it’s likely you’ll end up becoming best friends with the folks at the next table. Everyone, from the wait staff who cashier your order, to the kitchen staff who prepare it, to the manager who may just end up serving it, likes to talk. It’s this slap-ya-on-the-back sort of camaraderie that is as intriguing as the food.
We’ve eaten at Tijuana Flats maybe ten times over the past two years, so we know this menu well. It breaks down rather easily, as most things Mexican do, into burritos, chimichangas, tacos, nachos, flautas, tosdadas, enchiladas, and quesadillas. At TF’s, you not only get to choose your meal, you get to choose the size of your meal—as in the quantity of food on your plate.
Burritos, for instance, come in three sizes—the Regular—about the size of Rhode Island; the Tijuana—about the size of Pennsylvania; and the Megajuana—think Texas. Our favorite is the Blackened Chicken Burrito Tijuana Size at $6.19. For that price you get a whole-wheat tortilla, filled with the aforementioned chicken (done delightfully moist), tomatoes, lettuce, onions, jalapenos, and sour cream—with your selection of 15 different hot sauces from the “pump your own” serving bar.
Hot sauces are a specialty here, with Tijuana Flats serving their own “Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally” brand in varying intensities from mild to five-alarm fire. And regardless of where on the menu you may wander, you’ll eventually end up back on the sauce, so to speak.
Tuesday nights is Taco Tuesdaze where for $4.99 you can get two large crispy tacos, with lettuce, chopped tomatoes, onions, jalepenos, plus chips and a drink—and yes, hot sauce. A deal that packs the place.
On Thursday night, think Throwback Thursdaze during which $5.99 gets you a regular burrito, chips and a drink. Same fillers, same sauces. The bargain remains in your pocketbook.
Lighten your potbelly with the Norrito Bowl, a burrito without the tortilla, served in a bowl and topped with a light salsa-based rice, black beans, pico de gallo sauce, fresh guacamole and green onions. All for only $6.19.
If calories are no object, then rush right over and order a Chimichanga, which is stuffed full of cheese, chicken or beef, all the toppings and lightly fried. The Megajuana Carnitas Chimichangas go for $8.59.
The chain was started just up the road in Winter Park, Florida back in 1995 by Brian Wheeler, and Brian is still at the wheel along with his pop Chester,who’s CFO, and industry insider Camp Fitch (ya gotta love the name), who’s co-partner and chairman.
The restaurant now numbers some seventyplus eateries, spread over several states, with Florida getting the lion’s share.
From the murals on the wall, to the funky drawings on the menus, nothing is taken too seriously at Tijauna Flats—except the food, which is consistently great, fast, and plentiful. The company gives back to the community through its Just in Queso Foundation that to date has donated $670,000 to those in need.
Check out the action any night of the week. The restaurant is snuggled next to the Trek Bicycle Shop, so expect to see plenty of spandex in the vicinity. And, as always, tell them Agenda sent you.
1619 E Sunrise Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304