Food & Drink

MIO TIO

by Jeanni Ritchie

It was a beautiful afternoon. The sun was returning after a three-day hiatus and I was hungry after spending the morning snapping photos at an elementary school field day. I was hungry. 

I was coming up on the intersection of Jackson St. and Texas Avenue, that crazy four-way with turn restrictions and trying to remember which route prohibited the turn when I saw Mi Tio, the New Mexican restaurant at the old Fat Pat’s location. (The old car wash if you really want to go back.)

My family and I had attempted to dine in the first week of its opening but impatient children and rumbling stomachs detoured us from the overcrowded parking lot. I’d been wanting to return ever since and now was the perfect opportunity. It was just me and I had plenty of work to occupy me during the wait. 

It wasn’t needed. I was immediately seated at the outdoor table of my choice, the umbrellas providing shade while still able to enjoy the sunshine that had finally returned. Laughter erupted from tables around me as families and couples dined happily. 

The first question from most servers lips is “What can I get you to drink?” The first reply from mine is always the same. “Is it Coke or Pepsi?” I find that I wait entirely too apprehensively for the reply. It’s still just soda. 

 But at my age I no longer make apologies for knowing what I like. A restaurant gets my loyalty immediately when they say “Coke.” I think Pepsi does great things; I just prefer Coca-Cola. Mi Tio’s has Coca-Cola products. 

The chips were warm and sprinkled with a delicious paprika-y seasoning. I ordered the Tres Amigos quesadilla from the lunch menu. I should’ve boxed half of it up immediately for later but I ended up eating the whole thing, even sticking a few chips in one slice for some extra lettuce-less crunch! I do have the food palate of a twelve-year old. 

But I came back to my grown-up senses after I’d finished my meal and ended up changing my plans to go home and write. Instead I spent the next two hours writing at my outdoor table at Mio Tio’s which connected to the inside of the restaurant through open retractable walls. The lunch crowd had ended so I wasn’t holding up a table and I enjoyed interacting with the jovial staff. 

In fact, I enjoyed the experience so much that when I needed to write a post-movie review around dinnertime, I went back. The ambience was so conducive to a working meal that after considering my options, I quickly settled on Mio Tio’s Mexican Grille. I tend to order the same thing (again, I like what I like!) but I decided to expand my food palate and order the Birria tacos so many of my family members rave about. The roast beef tacos with queso, consume, lime, and cilantro and lime were good but I think I’m still more of a meat and cheese kind of kid. I did love the Mexican Street Corn though. I take any opportunity I can to eat corn on the cob without worrying about kernels flying across the table! 

The Alexandria location is the second location of the franchise originated in Breaux Bridge. A third restaurant will be opening in Woodworth in the next few months. With food and service like this, there will be many more. 

Mio Tio is located at 1302 Texas Ave. Check out their FB Page for specials and a live music schedule. 

Jeanni Ritchie is a contributing journalist from Central Louisiana. She can be reached at jeanniritchie54@gmail.com

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