El Sombrero Restaurant
- 527 Bridge Street NW
- Grand Rapids, MI 49504
- (616) 451-4290
- No Known Website
Take your dinner breaks when you can get them. That’s a theme in the business I work in. It’s not always a bad thing, but it means a lot of fast food or a lot of food fast.
I was driving around downtown Grand Rapids when I realized I had time for dinner. I have a huge list of restaurants I want to try in G.R., but usually, I don’t have anywhere near enough time for a sit down meal or even to order carry-out. I do, however, make a mental note of places that I think could make good quick meals.
One of those places is a little Mexican place that has been in the neighborhood for almost 50 years.
El Sombrero Restaurant is on Bridge Street at the corner with Seward Avenue. The building gives you the impression of a fast food joint with it’s drive-thru and southwest facade.
There are a few parking spots out in front right next to a patio area. Inside, the building is set up like most fast food joints. There’s a dining room with a Mexican theme and plastic booths and chairs, but the first thing you hit when walking in is the order counter.
The menu hangs above the counter and since I wasn’t familiar at all with El Sombrero, I needed a few minutes to look it over. The guy who took my order doesn’t look like he’s usually a counter person and seemed to be getting a little frustrated with my indecision. I was really looking at something other than tacos, but as I was getting pressured, I fell back on what I knew I would like.
I ordered four soft shell tacos to go. The clerk asked me if I wanted hot sauce and I said yes. His reply was “Well, how many?” I didn’t know I had a choice. I took two and quickly pulled out my money to pay. The total for four tacos was a little over $7 which seems expensive on the surface, but these aren’t your classic fast food tacos.
After taking my order, the clerk went back to the kitchen and handed the counter back to the regular person who boxed up my four tacos and again asked me how many things of hot sauce I wanted. I again said two then grabbed the bag and headed back towards work.
I assumed when I ordered soft shell tacos that I would be getting corn tortillas. I assumed correctly and was very pleased to see that. Each taco consisted of a pretty big helping of ground beef, lettuce, cheese, and tomato. I pulled the tomato off then added some of the hot sauce to each taco before digging in.
I know I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating, I love corn tortillas. As long as I get a warm corn tortilla, there aren’t going to be too many complaints from me. Other than that, the taco was pretty standard, but it was loaded with filling. The four tacos were just enough to fill me up and the hot sauce was a little more than I bargained for. It was very good, but much hotter than I expected it to be. With a glass of milk to cool things off, it would have been delicious. Without that milk, it was still delicious, but I wish I could have taken just a little bit of it off.
El Sombrero was an interesting experience. Since I’m not a regular, I didn’t know what their specialties were and just went for something safe. I was happy with my dinner and want to try more, but service was a little off-putting. It wasn’t quite rude, but it wasn’t friendly and helpful either. Still worth a stop if you’re on the hunt for some quick yet fulfilling and tasty Mexican.