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By Vern Markey, Published January 22 2003

Restaurant review: Acapulco's tasty Mexican food easy on wallet

Acapulco Mexican Restaurant features traditional south of the border cuisine combined with impeccable hospitality and service.

Family owned and operated, the Fargo restaurant offers customers personal attention and friendly service while dining.

A friendly "hola!" is the greeting of the day. This restaurant has quickly become a personal favorite when the mood for Mexican food strikes.

Aside from the awkward location, it is still prominently located just off the 13th Avenue South and Interstate 29 interchange in the former Happy Chef and later Guadalajara building.

Crunchy tortillas and flavorful salsa are served complimentary, but be warned, you must pace yourself. Overindulgence on chips and chunky salsa means less room for some tasty food yet to come. Food is served hot and quickly.

Daily lunch specials range from $4.50 to $6.25 with a featured item marked down each day for $4.25. Most meals are served in combination with rice and beans. Portions are generous and all are delicious.

Specific recommendations for lunch are the No. 5, Tamale with Taco, or the No. 20, Mandero Burrito. If deciding proves difficult, choose the lunch special.

If one of the daily lunch specials is not your forte, choose an appetizer; all are a meal in themselves. Otherwise a full menu is available.

Beef, chicken, shrimp or vegetarian fajitas are an excellent choice for one or two people. Served sizzling with sautéed onions, tomatoes and bell peppers, fajitas are complemented with rice, beans, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo and flour tortillas.

An extensive menu with several combinations or a la carte at affordable prices provides choices for any palate. Tex-Mex favorites such as burritos, chimichangas and enchiladas are standard, but there is much more. Tamales are prepared traditional Mexican-style, wrapped in corn meal and steamed in a corn husk. Seafood lovers will find a number of selections, including a seafood chimichanga and seafood cazuela soup.

If dining with someone unappreciative of Mexican cuisine, look for the American favorites on the menu. Hamburgers, chicken breast sandwiches and a T-bone steak are but a few choices. Lighter-side appetites can enjoy salads or soups.

A small dessert menu satisfies the sweet tooth --sopapillas, flan or fried ice cream. A children's menu is also available and includes some American favorites such as hamburgers, grilled cheese and chicken strips. Kids menu prices range from $3.50 to $3.75.

The atmosphere is relaxed. Soft mariachi-style music fills the air. Colors are subdued. The high-back booths are comfortable. Beer and margaritas are served, but lack of a full-service bar means the dining experience is sure to be in a quiet dining room.

Location makes the Acapulco difficult to get to, but the food and service make it well worth the effort. A drive through the Mini-Mart parking lot is necessary to get to the restaurant.

Judging by the increased business I have noticed, word of mouth about Acapulco is spreading. With cuisine that is tasty and authentic, and prices that are easy on the budget, Acapulco is easily in the top tier of Fargo's multitude of Mexican restaurants.

(The late Vern Markey was an assistant professor in Hospitality and Tourism Management at NDSU.)

Dining details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Phone: (701) 297-0355

Reservations: No

Smoking: Yes

Children's menu: Yes

Dress: Casual

Alcohol: Beer and wine

Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Discover

Restaurant review:

Acapulco Mexican Restaurant

1303 34th St. S.W., Fargo

Cuisine: Mexican

Rating (out of 4 forks):

Food: 3 forks

Service: 3 forks

Ambience: 3 forks