The 605 team was chatting via tmz office style (just kidding… not really) about what restaurants were new in the state.
“What about the Mexican place that took over Starz?”
We all stared at Taylor Hanson, 605’s account manager.
“What?! Something moved in and it’s open?” I asked in dismay.
Es la verdad. And it’s called Rudy’s M. Navarrete’s Tex-Mexican Restaurant.
I looked it up online, and right away you see Rudy is very proud of the origin of the business. His grandmother, Eulalia Navarrete, moved to Sioux City, Iowa from Arlington, Texas in the 1960s and opened a restaurant in the early 1970s “sticking to traditional and familiar foods,” like ground beef, rice, and beans.
It stayed in the family, and Rudy started grating cheese and doing dishes when he was 8 years old.
He worked at a restaurant using passed-down and new recipes with his father (also named Rudy) called Rudy Navarrete’s Mexican Food in Sioux City, and recently opened his version to carry on the legacy in Sioux Falls on 57th Street and Western Avenue at The Bridges.
Not only do I know this from the website, but it’s on a mural in the entrance and is also on the menu.
605’s Yany Avelar and I stopped by on a chilly afternoon, ready to feast.
Rudy came out to say hello and gave us the lowdown on the mix of Tex-Mex and Mexican, and how their recipes have definitely changed since his grandmother just offered the beef, beans, and rice.
“We have authentic Mexican dishes, along with Americanized Tex-Mex,” he said.
As these experiences mostly start off, they brought us chips and salsa, along with what Yany said was a taco sauce. Rudy gave a slight push for one of us to try it as a “red beer,” but I wasn’t ready for such a task.
I soon realized I was dancing in my chair with each bite of my chip, which was the perfect amount of crunchy, and also had a “just right” ratio of salt to chip. The salsa was chunky, but not too chunky, and was pretty mild, which I love. There was hot sauce at the table if we wanted to add more of a kick.
Yany tried the taco sauce (if that’s what it was?).
”I like chunky salsa better, so I don’t know if I would want taco sauce with chips,” she said. “It’s more salty than spicy, in my opinion.”
Homemade dip made with ripe avocados blended with seasoning and lemon juice.
Melted cheddar cheese blended with signature hot sauce.
Crisp flour shell with choice of topping. Comes with lettuce, tomato, and cheese.
BURRITO WITH CHILI GRAVY
Flour tortilla filled with choice of fillings (beef, chicken, steak, bean, rice) and topped with chili gravy and melted cheese.
Choice of filling. Comes with baked cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato, all piled high on a fresh bun.
Thick cornmeal wrapped around seasoned pork.
HONEY CINNAMON CRISP
Crisp shell with cinnamon sugar and honey butter, then baked.
Rudy himself let us know the Rudy Special was ready. The house dish features a crispy flour shell with choice of filling, which ours was beef, and had the signature chili gravy, onion, and cheddar cheese topped with another crisp flour shell with baked cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato.
Try saying all of that in one breath.
It was then that we noticed each place setting had one fork wrapped in a napkin. Strange, especially for people like us who are sharing, but we got a knife 30 seconds after asking for one.
This “crowd favorite since 1996” (according the menu) wasn’t lying. After a few bites, I was hooked.
”There’s a ton of cheese, but it’s still really good,” said Yany, who isn’t supposed to eat much dairy (and didn’t tell him that because she wanted the experience FYI). “It’s just really easy Tex-Mex, I like it.”
Whatever this house-made chili gravy is, I need more of it in my life. Honestly, I went into another world after a few bites, and then Yany said the most truthful thing ever: “It’s essentially a giant nacho.”
It was. And it was glorious.
Of course my first sentence was, “Can you imagine eating this hungover?”
We also had a side of rice, which was different. It had quite a bit of tomato, and Yany mentioned it tasted a lot like tomato soup at first.
“The more I eat it, the more I really like it,” she said. “It gives me a flavor of something I ate when I was little.”
Next up was the Flour Entomatada, which Rudy said was a unique dish to the restaurant. His grandmother created it in the 1940s, and it has a choice of fillings, and is topped with mild tomato sauce, onion, cheddar cheese, and is “baked to perfection.”
This dish also had beef and tasted very beefy (again, I’m so good at food descriptions and food reviews). The tomato-heavy theme carried over into this as well. Obviously they’re fans of tomatoes here.
Before I get too sidetracked, I forgot to mention that starting with our first entree we had the Supreme It! come out with it. This includes lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and black olives. You can normally get it for only two dollars. This was my favorite part. I thrived in choosing the right amount of toppings to add to each offering (I made a point to thank Rudy for his generosity with the black olive count).
And back at the actual flow of things, next up was the Chicken Mole Enchilada Special. What is mole, you ask? According to the menu, it is a dark sauce with a hint of spice. Their Tex-Mexican version is a corn tortilla with chicken mole wrapped up and topped with cheddar cheese, a side of rice, and beans.
In regards to mole, Rudy said his grandmother taught him how to “make it to perfection.”
This legit melted in my mouth. Need I say more? Oh yeah, and then I added my Supreme It! toppings to make it even better.
Bloating to the brim, the Enchilada came out. This corn tortilla with choice of filling was topped with signature chili gravy, onion, and baked cheddar cheese.
I love me some enchiladas, so this was good. If I were coming for my first time, though, I would try the Rudy Special or the Mole. (Cue Austin Powers mole mole mole.)
I really respected the family unit behind the brand and the recipes. Rudy came by and explained the dishes to us and proudly told us about his grandmother teaching him recipes and methods. Any love behind a dish shows, and to think he’s been involved in the business since 8 years old is very admirable.
Rudy’s ditched several walls that separated everyone and they opened up the building. The bar is adorable with the tin roof and margarita machines going, which gets the vibe flowing. As I noted, there is a mural right in the entrance that tells the family’s story, which is a nice way to start the experience.
This is super reasonable. Most options range from $4-$8, and the taco bar, which includes a drink, is $12. Many add-ons are around $.50 – $2.
I thought it was tasty, especially the Rudy Special. Imagine this: You’re out with friends. You say you’re only going to have one beer. You then have three to four beers. Shots start flowing. You wake up and hate yourself. Until… you realize there’s the Rudy Special. You then rejoice. Also, I would totally just go for after work drinks and chips and salsa.
Rating Scale: Ambiance ++++ | Average Price Per Meal: $—$10 & under; $$—$20 & under; $$$—$30 & under; $$$$—over $30 | Taste ++++
It's the Facts
- You’ll notice Rudy illustrated leaning casually against a cactus in the logo.
- Rudy’s Tex-Mexican is open Monday through Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Monday through Friday there is a taco bar 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. The $12 includes a drink.