We all forgot to ask if it’s pronounced Shevy’s or Tchevy’s.
Our latest adventure was at Chevy’s Fresh Mex (#19 on our list), yet another chain that only has one remaining outpost in Minnesota. The downtown Minneapolis Chevy’s tried to keep the fiesta going but closed years ago and is still sitting empty, an ode to Minneapolis’ fickle downtown dining scene. Anyway. The crew entered with someone low expectations for the food, but high expectations for the evening since we would be joined by none other than Rachel’s mom, Helen. Make no mistake, Helen can hang with a casual encounter.
At first glance, the menu seemed to be a run-of-the-mill Tex Mex restaurant. All subsequent glances confirmed that first impression.
Jenna says: The trip started strong with a super delicious salsa experience. Very smokey with the perfect amount of heat. Unfortunately the chips and salsa were the peak – my chicken enchiladas were “meh”, definitely not worthy of a trip to Bloomington. That being said, the house made masa garnish was delicious.
John says: I was very excited to go to Chevy’s. I’ve had good experiences and good food there before. Our server, Desirae, complimented me both on my beverage (peach margarita on the rocks) and meal (steak ‘dilla) choices. Unfortunately, the next morning I didn’t feel well and had to spend a good amount of time on the toilet [Ed. note: Ew.]. The food tasted good but the pain the next day severely downgraded it.
Aaron says: My fajitas came to the table sizzling hot. Even after the server, and Helen, said that the pan was hot, I had to test it anyway. Yes, it was hot. I think they were light on the number of tortillas, but there were some extras from the others at the table so it worked out. They were also tasty as a snack a few hours later.
Rachel says: Fajitas at a place like this are one of my favorite things, because then I don’t have to do the insane amount of mental gymnastics required for me to get all the stuff I want on one plate. Seriously, the amount of time I spent staring at the menu figuring out a way to get rice AND beans AND not pay a $2 upcharge for sour cream (seriously??) would try anyone’s patience. The fajitas were a little more expensive (probably to swallow that sour cream margin), but my mom was paying, so #yolo. I also had my leftovers for lunch the next day, with no abnormal digestion issues. And let it be know that Helen LOVED the fajita presentation.
Overall food rating (note our new and improved cheesecake icons!):
Before John’s unhappy toilet fest
After John’s unhappy toilet fest
Like many of our Casual Encounter servers, Desirae was exceptional. She had a great sense of humor, complimented our menu choices, was Sally-On-the-Ball with refills of both chips and beverages, and even saved one in our party from esophageal catastrophe.
John says: Desirae was personable, attentive, and friendly. Can’t say enough good things. Plus, she complimented me a lot while ignoring the others. There’s nothing I like more than being the center of attention.
Aaron says: Ample chips and salsa. Good recommendations.
Jenna says: While Desire didn’t reach the level of Earth from the Rainforest Cafe, she was VERY good! More importantly, she saved my life. After a horrific glass breaking incident that occurred near the bar [Ed. note: None of us actually saw said incident, so we can neither confirm nor deny if it was indeed “horrific”], she made sure that my drink was remade so that it was glass free. Seriously, I might not be here typing if it were not for her. So I take it back, sorry Earth, Desire is to me as David Hasselhoff is to every girl on a beach in the mid-90s LA: a dreamy lifesaver.
Rachel says: I appreciated Desirae’s positive attitude and her safety precautions. It’s not her fault Aaron touched the hot fajita plate.
Overall service rating:
Chevy’s boasts a typical Mexican chain restaurant color palette (warm, reddish tones) and junk on the walls, but was refreshingly devoid of most of the stereotypical decorations i.e. serapes and sombreros. It definitely had more of a fishing village vibe than a cantina one.
John says: There was a boat/camper hung from the ceiling. That was pretty cool. Otherwise, fairly blah.
Aaron says: The main thing that stuck out to me was the camper hanging from the ceiling right behind our table. Lots of other random Tex-Mex junk hanging on the walls.
Jenna says: Very laid back beachy vibe with a boat (or pop up camper if you ask Rachel) hanging from the ceiling. I love boats, so this totally worked for me.
Rachel says: I want to thank everyone for continuing to make fun of me for thinking, until about a month ago, that pop-up campers were actually pontoon boats (they’re both square-ish!!! I don’t have a lake home! Cut me a break!). So now, every time we see a boat, they point out the “pop-up camper” to me. Great friends. Other than that, I got an amazing Chi-Chi’s vibe from this place. If there is one dead restaurant I wish I could revive, it would totally be Chi-Chi’s. So that made me happy.
Overall ambiance rating:
Aaron says: No one kicked me out for wearing my velvet flip flops.
Jenna says: Had it not been for the rainy, cool day, I feel like it would have been totally acceptable for Aaron Smith to have been wearing swim trunks with his velvet flip flops.
John says: Very casual. I appreciated that they made their chips in house, for us to see!
Overall casualosity rating:
They might as well set fire to any dessert menu at a Tex-Mex chain, because there basically is one dessert and one dessert only: Fried ice cream. But, since one person in our group is hilariously allergic to cinnamon (and we never let him forget it) we had to branch out. All desserts were served in confusingly, unnecessarily large vessels. It was like eating ice cream out of a flower vase [Ed. note: Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it].
Aaron: I was real excited for fried ice cream, but considering it was cinnamon ice cream fried with a cinnamon battered shell served on top of cinnamon crisps, I abstained. [Ed. note: That is literally all fried ice cream at every restaurant. Not sure what weirdo place you went to that didn’t have cinnamon on its fried ice cream.]
John says: This also may have contributed to a bad bathroom morning the next day. I shared fried ice cream with others. It was tasty but way too big.
Jenna says: Just cinnamon. So much cinnamon. On everything.
Rachel says: My dessert was some kind of fried dough thing with dipping sauces. It was served in a goblet shaped like a champagne flute on steroids. It’s hard to mess up fried dough, but they managed to do it. The fried bits were all very dry, and the dipping sauces should have been served warm.
Overall dessert rating:
Your typical Tex Mex offerings.
John says: My peach margarita was delicious.
Aaron says: Non-cinnamon margarita [Ed. note: Duh], decent, but a little spendy, especially for the fancier ones.
Jenna says: DELICIOUS MARAGRITAS. And I’m a tough critic. I paid extra for the “top shelf marg” and there was an excellent ratio of booze to lime, with no sugary mix. Also, John Ward was super happy with the fruity drink he ordered, which was definitely the most Sex in the City-worthy cocktail on the menu. All we needed was a penis straw and we could have relived his epic bachelorette party! Wooooo girls!
Overall beverages rating:
Jenna says: Our Special Guest – Fargo’s own Helen Levitt! And let’s be honest, that margarita.
Aaron says: Helen “something funny” Levitt. I couldn’t think of any nickname in time.
John says: Being joined by another special guest! Rachel’s mom Helen joined in the fun. She even thought our poop jokes were funny. Big win.
Rachel says: Having my mom there to witness and partake in the glory of the Casual Encounters team. She’s a great lady, folks. I also enjoyed the smug feeling of not getting sick after eating there, in contrast with John.
Least favorite part:
John: The pit in my stomach the next morning.
Jenna: The prices DID NOT reflect the laid back, casual beach vibe. I feel like the prices were on par with Barrio, and no matter how many of those delicious margs I have, Chevy’s will never be Barrio.
Overall Chevy’s rating:
Our next outing: It’s a Tex-Mex Twofer! We’re headed to Chili’s in Roseville for our next outing.