Nestled inconspicuously behind Zaxby’s at 2 College Plaza, El Rinconcito deserves more attention.
Customers seat themselves and are served in a timely manner that rivals the fast food establishments nearby. The staff functions as a passionate, eager-to-please machine, turning water orders into bottomless well drinks, often refilling cups before even a quarter empty.
Perhaps the easiest decision a customer makes at El Rinconcito is to chip or not to chip. Uniquely, the restaurant features a serve-it-yourself chip and salsa bar. The necessity of self-service, while off-putting at first, introduces customers to a rewarding experience of involvement and gambling with their appetizer choices. Five salsas adorn the bar, ranging from light and fresh pico de gallo, to the deep smoky burn of chipotle, and the establishment’s painfully hot rendition of salsa verde.
While the chip and salsa bar contains ample color, the servers’ suggestion of chicken nachos was decidedly one note. One glorious, mouthwatering note. Nachos come in arguably family-sized portions with refreshingly sensible diced toppings that actually stay on the chip, drenched with mild queso. The chicken is salty – but in the best way – and tastes of a blend of seasonings so precise that no one distinct flavor can be isolated.
Paying for the rather economical meal in the adjacent room and Mexican specialty store only adds to the restaurant’s already charming atmosphere lent from the sparse and eclectically furnished dining room. Customers are left feeling that with every visit, they’ve rediscovered the local secret everyone’s dying to tell.