Rhonda On The Prowl: El Monterrey To Brighten Your Day

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - by Rhonda Tuggle

It had been a minute since Pops and I had seen each other, so we did some catching up over lunch at his favorite Mexican restaurant: El Monterrey.

Located on Signal Mountain Road next to the Wal-Mart, El Monterrey has served my dad and me for many of our father-daughter dates. I like the colorful tables and chairs that portray different sunny scenes in Mexico. My dad, Carlos, likes the casual atmosphere and friendly service.

The host led us to a booth in the center of the restaurant. It was rainy and cold out; people were starting to file in.

Our waitress brought out the complimentary chips and salsa then took our order right then and there because Pops and I always know what we want. He ordered the number 18 combo that comes with one beef burrito, one taco, rice and beans for $8. I ordered the lunch enchilada special, which includes a chicken enchilada, a cheese enchilada, rice, lettuce and sour cream for $6.25.

While we waited for our food we munched on the chips, salsa, and melted queso cheese dip we ordered. My dad asked me all about my life, and I told him everything there was to tell – the good, the bad, the spectacular, the bland – because in a place like El Monterrey you are free to talk on and on, and never feel like you’re going to be rushed away.

The food came in a timely manner. “Hot plate, Senorita!” cried the bus boy wearing an oven mitt as he set the enchiladas before me. Something urged me to sweep my fingers across the plate to see just how hot it was. “Ouch!” I said. “It burns!”

My dad laughed. “The man just told you it was a hot plate, Rhonda. What did you expect?”

Who knows what I expected from my impulsive action. But I do know I expected my lunch to taste great. And, without a doubt, my expectations were met. The corn tortillas the enchiladas came wrapped in melted in my mouth. The chicken was tender and the cheese was melted. The special Mexican sauce saturating the enchiladas added a nice tangy flavor, too.

As always, Pops enjoyed his meal. He ate slow and steady, savoring every bite. His favorite was the beef burrito – fully loaded and smothered in red sauce. Then he polished his lunch off with the hard shell taco.

“There’s no place like El Monterrey,” he said as he stood to pay our bill at the front counter. It came to $17 before tip. Pops always pays for me here. He says it’s the least he can do. “I love treating my children. Always will,” he said.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before he and I come here again.

Location: 531 Signal Mountain Road    

Hours: M – Th, Sun: 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Fri - Sat: 11:00 AM - 10:30 PM

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