Situated in the hustle and bustle of the Love Field area, Mario’s Mexican and Salvadorian Restaurant is the perfect place for a lunchtime getaway or fine dining experience. The brainchild of Mario Alfaro, who has been working in the restaurant business since 1982, Mario’s opened in 2009 as the premier place in the Metroplex for Salvadorian food. Soon after he opened, Mario decided to expand the menu to include Mexican food. Let’s face it – his restaurant is in the heart of D/FW, home to Tex-Mex fare. Sometimes you have to please the masses. And pleasing the masses is one of Mario’s specialties. Besides the restaurant’s authentic and mouth-watering menu, Mario’s specializes in providing friendly and exceptional service because, in Mario’s words, “the customer is always right. We want our customers to feel right at home here,” he added. “If there’s something off the menu they would like to try, or if they want something specially made, I will personally make it for them.”
The restaurant is located at 5404 Lemmon Avenue in Dallas in a spacious and colorful establishment that just screams “carnival!” the moment you walk through the doors. There, a smiling face greets you and takes you to a table. Before you have a chance to get situated, a server brings a bowl of chips and three of Mario’s specialty dips – black bean, salsa and salsa verde. The layout at Mario’s is perfect for any size party. The bar area is usually hoppin’ during Happy Hour, and there’s plenty of room for events and social gatherings. Yet, it’s also cozy enough for private, intimate dining.
Mario’s extensive menu proves that there’s something for every palette. From Salvadorian cuisines to American food, everything is cooked to Mario’s liking, which is sure to be to your liking as well. “Salvadorian is not spicy like some Mexican food,” he said. “We’re a little bit different than that. We bring more tropical flavor into our foods. But we also offer Tex-Mex for those craving fajitas or chalupas, and American food such as baby back pork ribs, the Mario Burger (1/2 pound burger served with bacon and French fries), and fried shrimp. There’s something for everyone.”
A member of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, Mario grew up learning how to cook from his mother, and always wanted to have a business. When he saw his current location available, he nabbed it. Only, the economy wasn’t exactly ripe for a new business to start, especially a restaurant. That didn’t stop Mario, though, from pursuing his dream. “The restaurant has exceeded my expectations, especially on the weekends,” he said. “When we opened the restaurant, the economy was in bad shape. Now it’s getting better, and we’re getting better.”
Like most restaurants on Lemmon Avenue, Mario’s thrives on the weekends and on weekdays during lunch. During its two years of existence, Mario’s Mexican and Salvadorian Restaurant has generated quite a following, thanks to a winning combination that all other restaurants strive for. “First, you got to have great food. That’s what gets me to Mario’s,” noted one regular customer. “Then there are the drinks, which is what keeps me here. And then there are the people that work here. You develop a rapport with them after one visit and they treat you like royalty here. Mario’s has all that, and that’s what will make you want to come back many more times.”