At the risk of stirring up bitter memories of the last time the Observer wrote about a chain restaurant serving Mexican-inspired food (for the record, the editor of the Observer is a regular at El Fenix), allow us to tell you about La Nueva de Zacetecas. It's a chain of family-owned restaurants and tortillerias in Dallas-Fort Worth that serves inexpensive, traditional Mexican food.
Arsenio Vázquez opened La Nueva, a tortelleria, in Rio Grande, Mexico, in 1968. In 1998, his son Javier and daughter-in-law Alondra moved to North Texas. In 2000, they opened the first La Nueva de Zacatecas in Arlington. “La Nueva” is a tribute to Arsenio Vázquez’s tortilleria in Mexico, and “de Zacatecas” is a nod to the region where Javier was born.
Now, the couple owns more than 10 restaurants in North Texas. The North Dallas outpost of La Nueva de Zacatecas opened late last years and is open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Order at the counter, and someone will bring your meal to the table along with delightfully spicy red and green salsas. The staff is friendly, helpful and happy to give recommendations.
When we visited for lunch, the restaurant was busy, but our food arrived less than five minutes after ordering. The lunch special is a real value. For $5.50, you get three tacos, rice, beans and a can of soda. Choose from one of 12 tacos fillings — things like guisado rojo con nopales (red pork stew with cactus), ground beef, steak with potatoes, bean and cheese, chorizo and cheese, and deshebrada (shredded beef with chipotle).
The flautas ($7.99) come five to an order, piled into a pyramid on the plate. They are stuffed with chicken and topped with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, slices of avocado, Mexican crema and cotija cheese.
The tamale plate is served with three tamales, your choice of pork, chicken, cheese or a combination of the three, with rice and beans. The tamales are generous in size, with light, creamy masa, and are another great value at just $5.99.
Other menu items include chiles rellenos ($8.49), a burrito with a choice of filling ($4.99), red pork stew with cactus ($6.99), quesadillas ($5.99), a barbacoa plate ($6.99), combo enchiladas ($7.99) and tostadas ($5.99). Pozole ($6.99) is served on Fridays. There is nothing over $9 on the main menu.
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For breakfast, La Nueva de Zacatecas serves dishes such as huevos rancheros, huevos con chorizo, migas, and chilaquiles. Don’t miss the breakfast tacos, with your choice of filling.
You can get meat, soups, beans, rice and salsa by the pound. Buy fresh tortillas (corn or flour), chips, chicharrones and frozen desserts to go. La Nueva de Zacatecas also has a case full of Mexican pastries, none of which is over a dollar.
From tacos to menudo, La Nueva de Zacatecas offers a great variety of authentic Mexican food. The newest location of this small, family-owned chain is a great spot for a quick, inexpensive and satisfying meal.
La Nueva de Zacatecas, 14902 Preston Road, 469-802-6849