There are three small Mexican restaurants surrounding the intersection of College Avenue and Montezuma Road, all so close that the smell of refried beans is intoxicating. Anyone who’s lived on campus knows them well: Trujillo’s, La Casita’s and Señor Pancho make up a trifecta of inexpensive, late-night grease gods of the Mexican restaurant industry.
Here are a few things you should know about each one.
Giving off the after-party atmosphere similar to one of the nearby fraternities, there’s no debating that Trujillo’s has the wildest reputation for late-night, Mexican dining.
Its busy hours appear to be between 5 and 8 p.m., slowing down while people do whatever SDSU students do at night, then picking back up again around 11 p.m. when the post-party munchies kick in.
With a juke box, loud crowd and close-quartered seating, Trujillo’s is the place to go when you don’t feel like acting like a quiet, respectable member of society.
La Casita’sIt’s my personal favorite of The Big Three, despite having a name that doesn’t make all that much sense in English or Spanish. The restaurant, which is open as late as the other two, attracts plenty of late-nighters without the overcrowded, party vibe you’ll find at the alternatives.
Unfortunately, the owners try to make up for their lack of inebriated, anarchic customers by obnoxiously blasting dance music at all hours of the day. Playing Tiesto at headthrobbingly loud levels at 10 a.m. is annoying, but not terrible enough to keep me away for long. Also worth mentioning, La Casita’s has dirt-cheap beer prices that haven’t disappointed throughout the last few years, which is a surefire way for any restaurant to win my affection.
Also known as “that weirdly shaped, pyramid place,” Señor Pancho hugs the southeast corner of the Montezuma Road and College Avenue intersection.
Its food isn’t awful, but it doesn’t score any points. Its prices are fair, but nothing significant. The eatery doesn’t serve beer and the only available seating consists of a few stone benches. However, it has a secret weapon: the drive through.
Though it appears to draw a fair share of its customers from the street, I would attribute a large serving of its success to the car service. If you’re designated to drive friends around the College Area, be prepared to make a pit stop at that pyramid-shaped place.