Critics rave about El Chile's Oaxacan red mole that blankets the roasted pork enchiladas. They dip one chip after another into the dark exotic salsa that won first place in the Austin Chronicle's Hot Sauce Contest. They smack their lips over the tres leches cake, a dessert so delicious that couples have requested it to be served at their weddings.
El Chile Café y Cantina is not your typical Tex-Mex joint. Our flavorful contemporary approach to Tex-Mex dining has paid off with critical acclaim not only from within the Austin community, but as far away as New York and California. We beam with pride at our appearance in national publications such as Wall Street Journal, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine. On any given day we never know who will be sitting at one of our interior or patio tables: food critics, former presidents, actors, governors, national championship coaches, academics, local politicos and Keep-it-Weird Austinites.
Our Bolivian-born boss, Carlos Rivero, grew up in San Antonio where his passion for the food and service industry was first influenced by his grandfather's tortilla factory. In later years, he further sharpened his skills as he worked his way from waiter to general manager at Jeffrey's, a fine dining restaurant in Austin. El Chile grew out of a combination of all these influences and an understanding that, as owner Carlos Rivero says, "It's all about the food - making it from scratch with fresh ingredients."
The success of El Chile Café y Cantina did not come from Carlos' efforts alone and puffy tacos aren't the only thing he brought to Austin from San Antonio! The partnership of Carlos and Orlando Sanchez, general manager at ElChile and co-owner of the spin-off El Chilito taco houses, dates back to their 8-year-old boyhood days of riding bicycles through their San Antonio neighborhood. With these two boyhood buddies peddling hard, El Chile has expanded despite the recent recession, and what began as a single café at 1809 Manor Road in 2003 has given birth to El Chile Café locations south (1025 Barton Springs, in 2009). Though the menus at each location are the same, each of the brightly colored cafes, housed in refurbished buildings and decorated with original artwork, reflect unique qualities of the local neighborhood and community.
Spicy sweet success. That's El Chile. A testament to the power of friendship, loyal customers, and good fresh food. Or maybe it's the El ChileTini, the frosty Michelada or the spicy Chilango Margarita? Fans and critics rave about those too! Come see us and you'll see why. Bring your friends.