Chevys Fresh Mex
If you feel that
chain restaurants are not for you, take a gamble on Chevys on
Solomons Island Road (Route 2 South), just north of Annapolis
Harbour Center. You may be surprised. And if your mood is upbeat
and you have some young, even very young, pals in tow, you can
bet your sombrero this is the place for you. Look for the colorfully-
painted '53 Chevy bus, your clue to turn.
five years into its history at this location, the Fresh Mex eatery
has a mission: to provide the freshest Mexican-style food in the
most welcoming atmosphere. The several local owners of this franchise
paired this spot with another Chevys located in Arundel Mills
Mall. Both places are humming.
General manager Ralph Munoz warmly welcomed three of us on a bustling
weekday evening. An earlier phone call assured us that a 6:30
p.m. arrival would find us a table. But, if you're bringing a
crowd of more than six, and on the weekends, it's a good idea
to make a reservation.
Crispy tortillas with signature Chevys salsa arrived in a flash.
The salsa had a haunting smoky chipotle-cilantro taste. Our waitress
Katie was patient with our indecision and helpful in explaining
the dishes. Margueritas, or "slushees for grownups," are a natural
here, where Chevys' bar offers a wide variety, including hand-shaken
house specials such as the "prickly pear," the "sunburn" and the
We decided on a shared Fresh Mex sampler of spicy wings, fajita
chicken nachos, chicken quesadilla, pork tamale and chicken tamale
accompanied by standout guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo.
The kitchen made sure they were just right in temperature and
degree of spice. On the menus, firecrackers warn patrons of extra
"hot" spicy dishes.
Also for the table, we chose the crab and shrimp 'dilla, a parmesan-encrusted
tortilla folded around fresh snow crab and juicy shrimp in a garlic
cream sauce with melted jack cheese and fresh mango salsa. We
agreed it was like a "Mexican crab imperial."
Chevys attests that variety is the spice of life, and the Fresh
Mex classics for us included beef chimichanga---strips of picadillo
(minced) beef that were golden brown and crispy and queso (cheese)
sauce---paired with a beef enchilada of ground beef with peppery
chile meat sauce. From 11 items, this was our selection of two
favorites and, for a dollar more, a third favorite can be added.
Our entrées included the barbequed Chimayo salmon fillet bathed
in a tangy barbeque sauce, served in a corn husk on a sizzling
hot platter surrounded with roasted veggies, rice, beans, guacamole,
sour cream, pico de gallo and the memorable sweet corn tomalito.
The succulent shrimp were grilled in a creative sauce of Mexican
butter, also served on a sizzling platter with the same tasty
On another occasion at lunch, the catch of the day was talapia,
mesquite-grilled and dressed with fresh, chopped mango---outstanding.
Every so often the kitchen door burst open and a parade of hand-clapping
staffers marched out and sang "Happy Birthday" to a young celebrant.
The children's tables were piled with dough they had shaped, crayons
for coloring and placemats for game playing. Choices from the
kids' menu included a cheese, beef or chicken flauta, cheese quesadillas,
chicken bites, soft or crispy chicken or beef tacos, bean and
cheese burrito and kiddie cheeseburgers. All kiddie meals include
French fries, sweet corn tomalito, fresh fruit and a complimentary
sugar-dipped "kiddie kone."
Kids of all ages were fascinated by "El Machino," a glass-encased
machine that moves tortilla dough on a conveyer belt and bakes
the dough on moving steps. The final tortilla takes 53 seconds
to bake and is then placed in a bag for serving with meals. Kitchen
manager Trini Guitierrez, originally from San Salvador, oversees
30 staffers whose work can start at 7 a.m. to accomplish the vast
prep work and baking chores. She prides herself that all ingredients
are fresh each day and all plates are created individually for
Chevys can seat 300 patrons in its four distinct rooms, including
the cantina that houses the bar, a popular spot for Annapolitans
and visitors. In the right weather, the patio is also a favorite.
Everywhere are Baja colors, green, gold and red, reflecting the
During this past year, Chevys began serving a tempting Mex brunch
from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Desserts also look awesome.
Our bets are definitely on the mesquite grill. The special metal
serving plates are as hot as lava. Enjoy, amigos!
Barry, a Pisces who resides on Mill Creek, has been a water
and food buff for three decades.