Mexican food and Tex-Mex cuisine served in a fast-casual setting

Mexican food and Tex-Mex cuisine served in a fast-casual setting from Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar

By: Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar  12/16/2011
Keywords: Restaurant, Bar, Food Products

Ay Chihuahua!

For immediate release

For more information contact Ines Cabarrus at 0917-813-0413

Every once in a while, something cool happens in Makati. Recently, a capacity crowd attended the inauguration of Chihuahua Mexican Grill & Margarita Bar, a Tex-Mex joint located in the heart of the city’s burgeoning nightlife district. Topping the guest list were US Ambassador Harry Thomas, Mexican Ambassador Dr. Tomas Calvillo Unna, and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay Jr., who together cut the ribbon in an avalanche of flash photography, cheers, and toasts.

Why all the hoopla? Isn’t this another in a long string of Mexican restaurants that have recently opened all around the Metro? 

The minute you set foot in Chihuahua, it becomes immediately apparent that this restaurant is something else.  First thing you notice is the restaurant’s modern, yet open and inviting interior.  The loud Mexican music puts a grin on your face as you walk up to the counter to order.  The aroma of fresh cilantro, cumin, and grilled meats start activating your salivary glands, while you check out their simple, easy-to-read menu.

Next, you’re compelled to choose your main dish (tacos, burrito, burrito bowl, or salad) and your choice of beautifully seasoned meats (steak, chicken, pork carnitas, or grilled veggies), each priced at P295. Their generous servings make it obvious they don’t skimp on the meat.

Now, on to your side dish: Mexican rice, chili, Nacho Grande, chips & queso, or tortilla soup.  Their Nacho Grande’s got everything your heart could possibly desire: tortilla chips, queso, chili, guacamole, pico de gallo, salsa, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and jalapenos.  Warning though, their chili is Texas-style: 5-alarm! And their queso is addictive.

Last, is the drink. Chihuahua is already famous for their frozen margarita, known to their already-loyal followers as the Chihuarita, which they claim to be the best in the city - made with 100% Mexican tequila and pure lime juice (no sugar added).  “This is the way we drink our margaritas back in Texas,” says General Manager Elian Habayeb, who grew up in Houston (the world capital of Tex-Mex cuisine) and lived in Mexico for several years while working for cement giant CEMEX.  “We like to call our Chihuaritas ‘happy juice’,” says Habayeb with a wink.  “We’re also quietly introducing the Michelada - Mexico’s #1 beer-based drink, made with beer on ice, Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce, Knorr and a twist of lime,” adds Habayeb, “plus we’ve got beer on tap, and a remarkable selection of imported beers and sodas.”

Mouth-watering food in-hand, you’ll definitely want to stop by the salsa bar to compliment your order with some fresh-daily Chipotle, Tomatillo, and Habanero salsas. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, you’re then invited to sample from their growing but already impressive collection of rare hot sauces gathered from all over the world – known simply as The Sauce Library.

“This is the best food in the world!” says owner Ines Cabarrus, who is neither a stranger to Mexican food nor to the restaurant scene.  After graduating from Holy Cross College outside of Boston, she joined a Jesuit volunteer program teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to Mexican and Latin American immigrants in Chicago and immersed herself in the culture and cuisine.  She currently manages her family’s award-winning Japanese restaurant Sugi at Greenbelt 2, and was a 5-year faculty member of Enderun Colleges teaching the Wine & Beverage Management and Service courses to this country’s future restaurant industry leaders.

Habayeb and Cabarrus have authored the bestselling coffee-table book Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets, and organize the annual MBKRS Awards – considered the ‘Oscars’ of Manila’s restaurant scene.  In addition, they write the weekly lifestyle column MUSIC & WINE in the Manila Standard Today, and host the social event-turned radio show MUSIC & WINE on 106.7 Dream FM, now airing on

“When I first moved to Manila, I noticed there weren’t any decent Mexican restaurants. After waiting patiently for 10 years, Ines and I decided, together with [Restaurant Manager] Miguel Villanueva, to do something about it,” says Habayeb.

Why Chihuahua? Well, there’s a Mexican expression “Ay Chihuahua!” that has several meanings like “that’s great!” and “this chili pepper’s really spicy!”. The restaurant is also aptly named after Chihuahua, the Mexican state bordering Texas, where El Paso and Juarez are situated.  Then there’s “Chuy” (pronounced ‘Choo-ee’) the Chihuahua - a shifty-looking dog with a sombrero and a long Mexican moustache who serves as the restaurant’s mascot.

“We’re both excited and proud to serve up the most authentic Tex-Mex cuisine this country has ever experienced,” says Cabarrus. “Manila’s not gonna know what hit it!”

You can find Elian, Ines, Miguel, Chuy, and the rest of the crew every day at Chihuahua, 7838 Makati Ave. across A Venue mall, open till 3am nightly. Chihuaphone: 0916-373-7308.  Chihuaritas are 2 for 1 till 3 every Monday IF you know the password. (hint: find it at ).

Keywords: Bar, Food Products, Restaurant

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