El Bajio a welcome change from El Tapatio


by Natalie MeierStaff Writer

El Tapatio, a Mexican restaurant popular with Simpson students, has undergone some changes and is now operating under a new name, El Bajio.

I decided to check out the new restaurant and see how it compared to the old El Tapatio.

As we pulled up, the changes were obvious. The building looks cleaner, and it has a fresh coat of white paint. The restaurant has been remodeled inside and out. The parking lot has also been redone. There are no more dangerous holes to step in and twist ankles. The old fence by where you park has been replaced with a new stone wall. By the entrance, there is now an outdoor patio. This will be lovely for sipping margaritas in the summer. As we walked in, there is a new screen porch. Be careful with the door going from the porch to the actual restaurant. It’s a puller not a pusher.

When we made it inside, the new paint color was a little shocking. The interior has been painted bright orange, and there are sombreros and colorful paintings on the wall. The elements certainly give the restaurant a fiesta theme. Two large windows have been installed in the front of the restaurant. The windows are a great addition because they provide some much needed lighting. There are all new booths and tables. The carpet has been replaced, and a fire exit has been added for safety.

The biggest change is the wall separating smoking and non-smoking. The wall has been torn down and partially replaced with a new wall that has glass panels. The restaurant now seems bigger and more spacious. The decor is not the only thing that has changed.

The menu is similar to El Tapatio’s, but the prices have gone up by about 50 cents. I know that’s a lot on a college student’s budget. The restaurant is now offering a take-out service as well, but it’s an additional 30 cents for each item.

My favorite part of the menu is the free unlimited chips and salsa. I don’t know if it’s the new decor or if they actually are using new chips, but they were great! The rest of the food seems to be the same as El Tapatio’s, but the service definitely isn’t.

The service is excellent. They seem to be very organized, which is a direct reflection on the new management. The waitress and the managers were always refilling our glasses (maybe a little too much). Our food came out about 10 minutes after we ordered it. True, the restaurant was not packed, but there were other people there.

Unfortunately, I went on a Tuesday. On Wednesday, there’s a great special for margaritas: 14 oz lime margaritas are $1.99. Don’t forget you get free chips and salsa with that too – ladies and gentleman that is a great deal. I think El Bajio is a much needed improvement from El Tapatio.