Save money and eat yummy near PAC

By Christopher Vasquez
Pulse Staff Reporter

Taqueria San Juan Mexican Restaurant on 410 on 11015 Highway 16 South serving up great Mexican food. By Christopher Vasquez

Replenishing your appetite is important for busy college students, but deciding where to eat can be difficult if you’re new to Palo Alto and the South Side.

Students gave advice on their favorite spots to dine, sparing newcomers from resorting to fast food chains or constantly eating in the cafeteria.

Jesus Gamez, a Kinesiology major, gave simple advice on an undiscovered Mexican dining spot that lies on the fringe of the South Side’s countryside.

“You can never go wrong with a burrito,” said Gamez.

Just past 410 on 11015 Highway 16 South is a place not likely to pop up on your Yelp restaurant finder. Located in the outskirts of the city, Taqueria San Juan is a humble Mexican restaurant next door to a convenience store and abandoned gas pumps. Owned by the Huerta family since 1994, Taqueria San Juan will remind you of dining at a friend’s home.

The top halves of the walls are painted a Southwestern shade of pink with various pieces of Mexican art lining the walls. When selecting my lunch from the menu, I skipped the $1 chips and salsa, and went for their limonanda for just under $2, which tasted nothing short of homemade.

For lunch, I ordered the huaraches, a soft, extra thick homemade corn tortilla, topped with beans, skirt steak and white Mexican cheese with slices of fresh avocado and tomatoes. This dish was not only authentic, but it was exceptionally good and worth the value of just under $3.

Student sophomores John Lopez, an Accounting major, and Jennifer Uriegas, a Pre-Veterinarian Technician major, recommended La Torre de Jalisco, located on 9511 Poteet Jourdanton Freeway.

“We eat there a lot,” said Lopez and Uriegas. “Prices are good. They have lunch specials every day.”

Sitting just minutes away from campus, left on Villaret and right on Poteet/Jourdanton, this restaurant can be found with ease. For lunch specials, enchiladas were the highlight of the menu, but the caldo de res or beef soup was a way to escape the cold temperatures outside. Cabbage, corn, carrots and squash filled the soup, making it a healthy option on the menu. This dish is just under $6 and will leave you filled to the brim.

If you’re looking for a restaurant that offers the comfort food of Jim’s but more on the rustic side, Bud Jones is your destination. This restaurant has become a family tradition in the South Side of San Antonio for PAC students.

“That was my grandparent’s favorite restaurant. I like their chicken fried steak. Service is really good,” said Julissa Garza, a sophomore Pre-Nursing major.

Bud Jones has withstood time as well as calamity. This restaurant first opened its doors to families in 1958, and continued to remain open even after an engulfing fire in 1978. The rustic wood-paneled walls and ornamented fish make you feel like you’ve stepped into a small town country diner. The menu is filled with all sort of comfort food from chicken fried steak to fried catfish or even nachos. For those sticking to a lighter side, the grilled chicken salad is fairly priced at $8.25.

Among other places that serve the same home-style cooking are Brenda’s Burgers located at 3837 SW Military Drive and B&B Smokehouse with its renowned barbecue located at 2627 Pleasanton Rd.

Many restaurants near campus serve a variety of foods to satisfy student cravings, and they won’t break the bank. Sometimes finding new favorites requires going off the beaten path and discovering some of these places for yourself.