Chuy's restaurant was founded in 1982 right here in Austin, Texas. The first location was on Barton Springs Road, and it's still there today. Chuy's now operates in all of the biggest cities in Texas, but they haven't lost any of their original quirky charm.
Over the past 21 years that I have lived in the Austin area, Chuy's has remained a favorite hangout with friends, and it is one of the coolest places to take my out-of-state clients.
My wife and I have often joked about how long the wait is at the newer location in Round Rock (about 15 minutes from our house). They could probably open another ancillary location next door and it, too, would remain full all the time. Believe me, IT IS WORTH THE WAIT.
It's popular for a reason: the food is excellent, and the decor is funky and eclectic. One of the more interesting features in the Round Rock location is the waiting area which is filled with pictures of happy customers all over the world wearing their Chuy's t-shirts in exotic locales. Also, there is a shrine to Elvis, complete with "candles" (actually, they are small lights inside candle holders).
The wait staff is young and hip and happy to be working there, at least at the locations I have visited locally. I get the sense that it must be a great place to work.
In Austin, when I have taken clients to check out Chuy's, there are three things that never fail to get remarks:
- Chuy's salsa
- The creamy jalapeno dip
- The ceiling covered with hub caps
Yes, you read that last part correctly.
Believe it or not, Chuy's creamy jalapeno dip even has its own Facebook page, with 17,592 fans as of this writing! Check it out here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chuys-Creamy-Jalapeno-Dressing/54238781240?ref=search. I still think it's funny when it reads, "Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno Dressing has written on its own wall." Cool! Basically, it's like spicy Ranch dressing. Okay - now I'm hungry.
I once took a client to Chuy's and he tried very hard to get the salsa recipe from the waitress. "I wish I could figure out what that spice is!" Of course, she wasn't able to divulge the details, but she gave him some tips. I must admit that I haven't ever seen anyone that excited about salsa.
As a small bit of trivia, the Chuy's on Barton Springs gained a small measure of notoriety a few years back when President Bush's daughter was ticketed for underage drinking there. I have no idea why this makes it a more interesting place to eat, but every time I mention it to visitors, they seem intrigued.
Chuy's is very reasonably priced, and I have yet to eat anything there that wasn't good. If you are planning a visit to Austin, let me know and we can grab lunch there sometime while you're in town. :)