When you think of Mexican food, you’ve got a lot of choices in Raleigh: Chuy’s, Cantina 18, Centro along with Jose & Sons to name a few. But before ALL those other places existed, Armadillo Grill has been around serving up its Tex-Mex for years. With locations in Carrboro and Raleigh, I’ve known about and eaten at the Dillo since I first arrived in the Triangle back in 2005. But like all stand-bys, they sometimes get forgotten. So I decided to go back for a re-visit since I had a hankering for some queso!
Located on the busy S. Glenwood corridor, Armadillo Grill sports a small fenced in patio up front. Inside you’ll find an order area with posted menus, pads of order sheets along with some special combos. Choose a taco (steak, chicken, chili, beans-cheese, guacamole) with any combo of toppings you’d like (peppers, onions, lettuce, tomato, beans, cheese, guacamole). Note that each topping is an additional charge-up from .05 (lettuce, tomato) to .30 (sour cream). I order up two soft tacos (chicken, chili) and add in a basket of chips and queso.
I self-serve my drink, find some napkins and grab a seat on Armadillo Grill’s small patio. The food takes maybe 5 minutes to come out, quick like a bunny and served on a plastic tray. The soft tacos are on flour tortillas and served in aluminum foil which unfortunately, keeps all that heat and liquid trapped. There’s a good helping of cheese and veggies, but not so much chicken on the first taco. And while it tastes ok, the trapped moisture in all the ingredients makes the taco fall apart quickly, boo! The chili taco isn’t bad with more of its filling but nothing too interesting. Thankfully, the basket of chips is substantial and the queso decent which for me becomes the highlight of the meal.
All-in-all the food at Armadillo Grill is serviceable but best suited for its target audience: college kids and people out late after clubbing. The food isn’t that interesting, isn’t that cheap and the counter-order and pick-up is all about quick calories. It just feels that time has passed this place by and they haven’t done anything to keep up. Another long-time favorite up the street, Mojoes Burger Joint, seems to have done a much better job staying relevant for Raleigh diners, sigh. Oh well so let’s just say that Armadillo Grill is an oldie but not so goodie in 2016. I’d prefer just doing Tijuana Flats if I had my choice but for right now on S. Glenwood, Dillo Grill might just suit your needs.