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BarHop: Tortilla Flats

May 5th marks the last day of classes and our favorite Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo.  Read on to for Bwog’s suggestion on how to celebrate the day.

Don’t let the reference to Steinbeck fool you, Tortilla Flats is more Mexican cliche than Mexican culture.  The menu offers a smattering of inventive, if at times bland, pseudo-Mexican treats, from the taco salad, a mix of shredded iceberg lettuce and sour cream in fried tortilla ‘bowl,’ to the New Mexican Short Stack, a casserole comprised of layers of tortilla chips, Jack cheese and refried beans.  But, it is not the fine food or the fine culture that keep people coming back to Tortilla Flats, but rather the utter lack of affectation.

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, Tortilla Flats stands out among the city’s numerous Mexican restaurants and Mexican themed bars.  The sad truth is that many of our favorite Mexican places, from Blockheads to Mama Mexico and Mary Ann’s, are profiting off lackluster burritos and water-downed margaritas.  The burritos may be no better at Tortilla Flats, but you’re bound to have an embarrassingly good time, so long as you leave your ego at the door.

The interior is bit overwhelming at first.  The walls are a pastiche of album covers and concert posters dating from ‘50s and ‘60s and Christmas lights hang from the bar’s low ceilings.  In more ways than one, the décor and the small floor space may recall a dorm room in Carman.  Indeed the entire atmosphere of the restaurant has something of the spirit of Freshman orientation.  But the free-flowing alcohol and kitsch is a welcomed change after eight months spent in Lit Hum or CC.

Although there’s often a wait, once you and your group sit down it’s easy to forget all your stressful studies and lonely nights at Bulter.  The margaritas are served in big plastic pitchers and you can order chips and fresh-made guacamole for seven dollars with unlimited free refills.  The aptly named Quesadilla Grande and slew of other dishes equally ripe for sharing make Tortilla Flats an ideal place to catch up and let loose with friends.   If you’re the competitive type, however, the restaurant wide bingo games might lessen Tortilla Flats’ otherwise leisurely atmosphere.

These games, emceed by the shameless, if at times irritating bartenders, tend to get heated – especially after a couple pitchers of margaritas.  It doesn’t take too much to get belligerent with Tortilla Flats’ predominantly bridge-and-tunnel crowd.   But there’s no need to worry, unless an intra-table rivalry builds between you and your BFFL.  And even if you do beat out your friends, the fraternal atmosphere at still Tortilla Flats prevails.  The winner not only receives the honorable title ‘Big Bingo Winner’ and tee shirt to commemorate his victory, but also a round of tequila shots to share with his table. With a lick of salt and a swig of Jose, all aggression and animosity at your table is quickly abated.

So if you want a place where you can get saucy and at the same time have some old-fashion fun, head down to Tortilla Flats.  Don’t expect to find elegance or sophistication here, but really is that what anyone is any one is looking for on Drink-o de Mayo?

Tortilla Flats is located at 707 Washington Street on the Corner of West 12th.


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  • do all says:

    @do all frequenters of this place look like that person?

  • msmrs says:

    @msmrs Sheesh, if you were given the chance to go to an “authentic” Mexican place, you would opt to eat at chipotle. WTF “lack of affectation”, this place is nothing but pretentious.

  • sigh says:

    @sigh i guarantee AT LEAST 5 comments will appear about how this is racist, offensive, etc….

  • This is says:

    @This is racist, offensive, etc…

  • I also says:

    @I also think that this is racist, offensive, etc….

  • no man says:

    @no man tort flats is just an excellent bar with cheap drinks. and frequently people dancing on the bar. with shirts off. its a great time.

    1. ... says:

      @... you ruined everything.

  • outrage! says:

    @outrage! this is racist, offensive, etc….

  • no. 4 says:

    @no. 4 this is racist, offensive, etc…

  • F1FTH!! says:

    @F1FTH!! this is racist, offensive, etc….

    Bwog won’t let me post an exact repeat of the last comment because it thinks I’m on of those people who comments and reloads with postdata, causing duplicate comments:

    Please do not reload the page after posting a comment. This causes duplicate postings and makes the comments harder to read. In the future, please use the “Link” button below the article text. Click here to proceed to the article.

    1. Tron Carter says:

      @Tron Carter I believe you meant FiF!

  • Paloma (pigeon) says:

    @Paloma (pigeon) This is so etc.

  • yeah man says:

    @yeah man what a hottie

  • i want some says:

    @i want some guacamole!!!!!!!!!

  • Rapper-In-Residence says:

    @Rapper-In-Residence Here’s my new beat, “Tortilla Flat”:

    Yo wazzup dogs,
    Ready to go?

    Lets go to Tortilla Flats
    Lets go invade like gnats

    Cuz I want a tortilla
    A giant one like godzilla,
    With some guacamole,
    With more kick than a goalie

    Cuz when I visit downtown
    I don’t wanna frown
    I wanna feel the burn in my mouth
    That’s why I walked down South

    I’ll also try a chalupa
    Cuz I luv all things supa’

    I love the high-octane,
    Feelin’ the throat pain

    So bring hot sauce
    Or I’ll be at a loss

    This is my cinco de mayo,
    I could eat a caballo

    I’ll shell out my cash,
    Which I’ll flash with panache

    My intestines will pay
    But man what a great day

    When I can just testify
    That I ate till I cried

    And I know that if to rhyme
    were a crime
    I’d be doin’ some time

    But I don’t care
    Just give my tortilla
    Cuz I’m the big chin-chilla!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Columbia, Mexicans, and liquor, Bwog?
    Another chance to hear flak from Ann Coulter!
    And so, it is resolved: I’ll have no grog.
    Methinks ’tis back to “lonely nights at Bulter”.

  • ummm says:

    @ummm Bwog, why aren’t you updating?!

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