Los Cuates – Why would you ever go to a chain???

The Triangle, and Durham in particular, is flush with good, authentic Mexican restaurants. Some are true taquerias and others are more full service establishments. Colman Andrews had a feature on the Durham Latino scene in the September Gourmet. No mention was made of Raleigh, and that’s probably appropriate, as we certainly don’t have the number of Mexican restaurants as the Bull City.

Nevertheless, we do have my favorite lunch place, Los Cuates, located (where else?) in a non-descript strip mall in North Raleigh (4524 Old Wake Forest Rd.). I eat here about once a week, getting a couple of lengua tacos, or a green chile burrito, or a torta. And I always — ALWAYS — get one of their refreshing agua frescas, which now come in 6 flavors. They have a condiment bar with 4 different salsas, some pickled carrots & jalapenos, cucumbers, radishes and lime. Chips are complimentary. Oh, and that burrito and agua fresca will set you back a whopping 6 bucks, with tax and tip.

Sure, you order at the counter. And yes, it’s not the fanciest place in the world. But it’s always good if not great. I love this place.

But my big question is why the hell is this place almost always 2/3 empty and places like Moe’s or Chipotle are inevitably packed to the rafters (and be careful, I just might slug the next person who “welcomes me” to Moe’s next time)? Are we, as a consuming, eating society, that dumb? I’m not without hope, as I see big crowds at Dos Taquitos all the time (but that just might be because of their margaritas!).

Think about it, you can go to Moe’s and get crappier, less tasty food that costs more money, still ordering at the counter. You can get your sweet tea or Diet Coke. At Los Cuates, the food and drink choices are far more extensive, but you don’t even need to be adventurous. You can get your chicken burrito or steak taco (and they’ll actually taste like chicken and steak, too!!). But there’s so much more. And it all tastes so much better. So dare to make a change and go somewhere other than the usual joints and support the owners of this great establishment.

Los Cuates

4524 Old Wake Forest Rd.

Raleigh, NC 27609


(they also have a drive-thru at 3505 Capital Blvd.)


5 Responses to Los Cuates – Why would you ever go to a chain???

  1. Jane says:

    Moe’s slogan should be “Moe’s Blows”! It always humours me when people suggest good “Mexican” food for lunch, then proceed to Moe’s. I’ll have to give Los Cuates a try. And for good, authentic-tasting “Californian” Mexican cuisine, try Salsa Fresh on Duraleigh Road. Every bite reminds me of sunny days in Venice Beach!

  2. […] So, the question now turns to, “Am I a food snob? ” My wife certainly thinks so, and it’s not because I know more about food. It’s because every once in awhile, I find myself judging others because of their tastes. For example, I don’t understand people who refuse to try new things (and I’m talking adults). I don’t fully comprehend why, given a choice, most people would choose Moe’s over Los Cuates. […]

  3. FuzzyT says:

    I basically asked this same question over at Chow: “Why in the world is the patio at Mellow Mushroom full to overflowing while Las Cascadas (Brisas) is nearly empty on a Sat. night?”

    People are free to choose what they will, but dammit I wish they were a little more adventurous. There’d be a lot more interesting restaurants to choose from if they were.

    Moe’s is pretty bad. Did you see that the Cameron Village location was expanding?

    I’m believe I’m beginning to understand the Outrage of the Frenchman.

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