It was high time we took a trip to L & J Cafe. Since arriving in El Paso, we’d heard over and over again about L & J, “The Old Place By The Graveyard”. And truly it is right across from an old graveyard. We went in broad daylight, but I bet that graveyard adds some interesting atmosphere in the dark of the night!
We tried out L & J Cafe at lunchtime and oh my – this place was hoppin’! But we were seated right away in an area in the back of this busy restaurant and bar. We really loved the feel of the place – very dive-y! L & J has been around in one form or another since the late 1920s, and it feels it. This is a very casual place that had a quite diverse clientele on the day we were there: families, couples, tourists, soldiers in uniform…..everybody was there (or so it seemed).
Once seated, We were immediately given menus and asked for our drink orders. While beer is served, soft drinks were our beverage of choice on this hot day and they were refilled several times throughout our meal.
The menu has lots of great Mexican choices. I went with the steak burrito (chopped sirloin with tomato, onion and jalapeno). Richard ordered the fried steak tacos (chopped sirloin served on three fried corn tortillas, with a garnish of white and yellow cheese, cilantro, lettuce, tomato, grilled green onions, and guacamole, along with beans and rice).
While we waited for our entrees, our server brought out salsa and chips. Richard is the real salsa and chips fan, and he proclaimed this to perhaps be the best salsa he’s had in the Southwest (and wow! Quite a statement, since that guy’s eaten a lot of salsa in a lot of parts of the Southwest!). He loved how “smoky” it this salsa, and he quickly said “oh yeah” when asked if he wanted another serving of salsa and chips.
Our entrees were served up fairly quickly, with mine coming out first and Richard’s coming out soon after. Richard adored his tacos, saying it had just the right spice and flavor combos. He even loved the rice. This was quite a big food feast, and he put quite a dent in it.
I love burritos and was stumped on which to order, because so many of them sounded good! Someone recommended the steak burrito to me, and so I went with that. My steak burrito was a very generous serving (especially for the price), and the ingredients were all tasty. But….for me, the burrito was a bit dry and a bit bland. I put some salsa on top and that certainly helped, but I like would have preferred one of the spicier and saucy-er (is that a word??) burritos or possibly the enchiladas (which looked great).
Our service was very good. It was fast, efficient, and friendly. And the prices were excellent, especially for the portion sizes and quality.
And the atmosphere – oh yeah! Love it!
L & J is located just outside the Concordia Cemetary at 3622 E Missouri Ave, El Paso TX 79903