Making the Grade: El Mariachi Mexican Bar & Grill



Back when I was a young girl living with my parents in Alexander City (“Eleck” City to the locals), my Mama would make us a special treat. (My two much older brothers Jim and Mike were students at Auburn University, and I was thrilled to have a bathroom to myself.) Mama would chop up an avocado and mix it with mayonnaise and a diced onion. We ate this delicious mixture on soda crackers.

I had no idea until I was an adult that Mama’s treat was called guacamole. However, I have loved this dish since my childhood. Now, my sweet husband Mike doesn’t care for guacamole. I often don’t understand his food preferences or non-preferences, but I love him dearly anyway.

Recently, Mike and I met William and Jack at Auburn’s newest Mexican Restaurant, El Mariachi Mexican Bar & Grill at 2487 E. Glenn Ave.

El Mariachi is locally owned by Jose Barragan. The restaurant is attractive and spacious. Also, I love the three statues in the front of the building. From the road, they look like real people.

Angie, our server, was wonderful, patient and helpful. As always, for our appetizer, Mike and I chose the cheese dip and chips; we just love that wonderful drippiness. If that’s not a word, it should be.

Jack chose the Mexican guacamole as his appetizer. He kindly let me try a bite. Oh, my three times. That was the BEST guacamole I’ve ever eaten. No offense, Mama. Instead of being mainly a mixture like the guacamole I’ve eaten, it had chunks of avocado with pico de gallo. It was really fresh and delectable; I will definitely order it next time. And the Good Lord willing, there will be a next time.

For his entrée, Mike chose the beef burrito, which came with rice and beans. It was a lunch special, but for just a dollar, Mike enjoyed it for dinner (supper). I ordered the chicken fajitas, which were cooked with peppers, onions and tomatoes. They were served with rice, beans, guacamole, sour cream, tomato and tortillas.

Jack selected the steak burrito verde, which was cooked in green sauce and came with rice and beans, guacamole salad and pico de gallo. Jack REALLY loves El Mariachi because he had already eaten at the restaurant on Tuesday and was back again with us on Thursday; this was his third time, and he said everything had been great.

This was William’s second time at El Mariachi. This time, he chose pollo loco, which is Spanish for “crazy chicken.” His dish was grilled chicken with onions and cheese sauce served on a bed of rice.

Everything was “muy delicioso,” which means “very delicious.” I have to show off those two whole years of Spanish I studied in school. Believe me, run and do not walk to El Mariachi.

Besides our amazing entrees, El Mariachi offers diners an extensive selection of burritos, tacos, quesadillas, grilled dishes, seafood dishes and specials. The restaurant also has a great selection of tasty dishes for lunch.

El Mariachi Mexican Bar & Grill is open on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

El Mariachi Mexican Bar & Grill makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!

Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear each week in The Observer. Stacey may be reached at


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