Family-friendly El Loro delivers great Mexican food

Meredith Gallagher

The El Loro chain of restaurants has only been in the Twin Cities for eight years, but they are already known for their authentic Mexican dishes: enchiladas, burritos, tostadas, tomales, quesadillas and chips with salsa. They’ve got it all. Even for those weary of spicy foods, El Loro offers plenty of meals that won’t burn their tongue. The menu is huge, but it has a key at the bottom that describes everything for the linguistically challenged.

For those who still can’t understand the names of the meals, the wait staff is extremely helpful. “Customer service is very important to us,” said Arturo Arellano, the manager for the El Loro location in Crystal. The waiters will answer any question happily, and once you order your food, they will have a steaming hot plate out to you within ten minutes. “The whole goal is to have the customer in and out in twenty minutes,” Arellano said.

Even though the service at El Loro is fast, the food is nothing like fast food. The quality is excellent; the restaurant has often been featured in Twin Cities Magazine for their food, especially their fajitas. You also get a lot for your buck: servings are huge (probably big enough to share), and the majority of meals are on the menu for under $10.

If the prices aren’t enough of a draw, the fun family atmosphere will certainly do the trick. The vibrant murals depicting traditional Mexican life, the openness of the room, and the waiters leading the customers in a round of “Cumpleanos Feliz” all add to the feeling of a Mexican fiesta.

With its authentic food and comfortable family setting, El Loro resembles an old mom and pop restaurant. It is co-owned by several families and family friends. “My family, aunts, uncles, friends, cousins–we all work here,” Arellano said. Despite the small-restaurant feel, El Loro has established several locations in the Twin Cities: Coon Rapids, Savage, Burnsville, Eagan, and they plan on adding a site in Hutchinson.

El Loro offers plenty to satisfy all the Mexican-food lovers as well as those weary of spicy foods. Along with the laid-back atmosphere, the restaurant promises a great experience.