On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina – Kentwood
What a crazy day at work. It’s hard to explain too much without giving away where I work which I don’t want. Mixing personal blog and professional life….not always a good thing.
I did have enough time to actually grab a lunch that wasn’t a drive thru so I started racking my brain as to where I should go. Since I’m a big fan of online ordering, I started looking for something where I wouldn’t have to actually talk anyone.
Yesterday, I was driving around the Woodland Mall area and I saw On The Border which is one of those chains that I have never been to. It’s used to be part of the Brinker International chain of restaurants which also owns Chili’s. In March, the brand was bought by OTB Acquisition, LLC which also picked up Romano’s Macaroni Grill.
There are two On The Border restaurants in the Grand Rapids area. I chose the at Woodland Mall in Kentwood. The building is actually part of the mall, but it’s also a stand alone building. It’s not one of those restaurants that set up shop near the entrance of the mall or in the parking lot. They actually share sidewalk space with other mall stores. It’s sort of set up a little weird. It’s kind of like part of Woodland Mall is an open air mall and On The Border is on that part of the property.
Since I called my order in, I didn’t even have to go in to the dining room. There’s a carry-out entrance along the side and that’s where I went. Like other casual dining chains, the carry-out entrance is in the back of the dining room, so I could still peak in to see what I was missing out on. There weren’t too many surprises. Picture Cantina that has been canned for distribution.
When I got in to the carry-out area, my food was already sitting on the counter waiting for me. That was nice except there was no one working that area so I could pay and get out. There were three waitresses within ear shot and none of them even looked at me. A fourth waitress walked around the corner and noticed me and asked if I had been helped. I said no and she jumped behind the counter and rung me up.
I had a couple more stops to make before I got back to the station and I had the smell of Mexican food filling up the car.
About twenty minutes later, I got back to work and was able to sit down and eat. The first thing I came across when I opened the bag was a large bag of tortilla chips. I wasn’t expecting them so it turned out to be a nice surprise. They were large chips that looked to have been made from a tortilla cut in half instead of into triangles. They had a nice seasoning on them and even directions on how to heat them up in the microwave. They were delicious the way they were, but they did include a not quite chunky salsa which had a pretty good kick to it.
For my meal, I went with the Create Your Own Combo option which allowed me to pick three items from a list of over 15. The three I chose were the Crispy Seasoned Ground Beef Taco, Chicken Empanadas, and Slow Cooked-Pulled Mexican Chicken Enchilada.
I started with the taco since that’s like comfort food to me. The taco was a rather large fried tortilla filled with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, cheese, and tomato. This wasn’t a drive thru taco. It was about double the size. The seasoned ground beef tasted more like what I make at home than the typical fast food taco, but there was quite a bit more shell than filling. Still, it was very tasty and left me wanting more.
My next stop was the Slow Cooked-Pulled Mexican Chicken Enchilada. I love pulled chicken…hell, I love slow cooked-pulled anything. The enchilada was a flour tortilla filled with the chicken. There was a cheese sauce on top. The tortilla was nice and tender as was the chicken. The taste kind of got lost in all the cheese, but is that really a bad thing?
My third choice was the foil wrapped Chicken Empanadas. There were two in the packet and they were fried to a very crispy golden brown. The flaky pastry shells were stuffed with the pulled chicken and cheese. It’s served with an original queso. I liked that the empanadas were able to be ate hand held after struggling to eat the enchilada because of the lack of silverware in the to-go container. The empanadas were delicious, but like everything else I ate today, there was more pastry than filling.
My total was just a little under $10 which isn’t awful, but it didn’t include a drink. I did get a ton of food and had a lot of chips left over that I offered to share with co-workers, but we were so busy, no one had time to stop by my desk and get them, so I brought them home to J.
On The Border was pretty much what I was expecting. It’s Tex-Mex food that’s more Tex than Mex in an atmosphere similar to all the other casual dining chains.