By Peter Covino
Tejanos is Spanish for Texan and it is also the term used for Spanish speaking Texans.
Now, Tejanos, at least in Kissimmee, means a good place to get some fajitas or a burrito.
Tejanos is the newest Tex Mex/Mexican restaurant in the county, and it looks to be a dependable place to get lunch or dinner.
Located at 3425 W. Vine St., the interior of Tejanos may look vaguely familiar as a Chinese buffet. But those buffet lines have been replaced with a nice, clean simple Mexican marketplace look with an emphasis on festive.\
Depending on when you dine, you will probably be greeted by either Sabrina Pernalete or Audrey Lorentzen, the assistant managers at the new restaurant. Both women trade off duties during the long work day, but handle just about all of the details in the day-to-day operation, except in the kitchen.
And if you are dining, of course it all begins in the kitchen, and Tejanos Tex Mex Café offers a nice, large menu, packed mostly with familiar favorites.
My visit featured one of their Mexican specialties, the chimichanga.
This is a nice chimichanga (a flour tortilla, deep fried). You have your choice of pulled beef mixed with vegetables, marinated chicken breast with cheese and beans inside the large tortilla. The crispy exterior is covered with your choice of a red sauce or cheese sauce, and like all of the Mexican Specialties on the menu, it comes with a side of sour cream, black beans and either Tejanos rice or white rice. It is $9.95 on the menu.
Other Mexican Spec-ialties include many of the basics, like soft tacos (you get two with your choice of beef or chicken, served with pico de gallo), $7.45; taco and enchilada, $7.75; stuffed chile (two chile poblanos peppers, stuffed with queso fresco, deep fried with egg whites and flour, covered in their own red enchilada sauce and cheese), $9.95; and tacos asados (a soft corn tortilla stuffed with marinated skirt steak or chicken breast mesquite, served with fresh chopped onions, cilantro and lime), $9.95.
The appetizers section of the menu also is filled with familiar favorites like guacamole (made from scratch), empanadas and blackened chicken tenders. From the “I didn’t try it but it looks interesting,” part of the app options are Tejans version of Southern Chili and Tejanos Hot Chicken, featuring chicken tenderloins lightly fried and dipped in their buffalo sauce, served with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks. They are $3.50 and $6.25 respectively.
If you like fajitas, Tejanos serves up a wide variety, including everything from traditional beef and chicken, to blackened tilapia and vegetable to Del Rio (shrimp, beef or chicken grilled over mesquite logs). All fajitas are served with pico de gallo, a sideo of sour cream, your choice or flour or corn tortillas, refried or black beans and Tejanos or white rice. Fajitas are priced at $13.45-$19.95.
Other menu selections include quesadillas, Salmon Veracruz (mesquite grilled salmon served with vegetables, rice and sauce), steaks and Cajun seafood favorites.
And yes, you can just get a hamburger (Cajun, Mexican or Mesquite) or a salad. There are nine salad options to choose from, featuring everything from a blackened salmon and steak and bleu cheese to mesquite grilled fajita salad.
The kids menu includes chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks and chicken quesadillas.
There is nothing out of the ordinary in dessert category, with four options including cheesecake, carrot cake, chocolate cake and fried ice cream.
Since Tejanos is a new restaurant, the menu will be varying as the restaurant experiments a bit, the managers say.
Also, the restaurant hosted its first Latin night last Friday, something that will become a regular attraction if it proves to be popular. Latin night features a DJ and appetizers for purchase. Tejanos also has a full service bar with liquor, wine and beer.
Tejanos is open daily. It is a large restaurant with a seating capacity for more than 200.