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Tez's Mexican Cantina / Monterrey Mexican Restaurant, 7949 Broad River Road: Fall 2010   12 comments

Posted at 12:36 am in restaurants

Commenter Heath notes this closing as follows:

Another Friarsgate Plaza closing from the summer or early fall of 2010 – Monterrey Mexican Restaurant. They were located there since at least the early 2000’s – after buying out Tez’s Mexican Cantina that was located there from sometime prior to 1990 or 1991 when I first knew of it. This Monterrey’s was owned by the same group that owns the location on Knox Abbott Drive in W. Columbia, and had slightly different recipes than the other group that owns the Vista, Columbiana (Afton Ct.), and Killian Road locations. The El Monterrey location you see on Broad River near I-20 (and possibly still open on Parklane?) is yet another splinter off of the other Columbia locations.

I think I vaguely recall seeing another Tez's somewhere in the area, and of course there are a number of Monterrey locations as Heath mentions, but I had no idea this one existed. I have to admit that I only just got it through my head fairly recently that Broad River Road goes all the way to I-26 and beyond as growing up I always associated it purely with the Dutch Square/Intersection Center/Boozer Shopping Center area.

(Hat tip, obviously, to commenter Heath)

Written by ted on May 19th, 2011

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12 Responses to 'Tez's Mexican Cantina / Monterrey Mexican Restaurant, 7949 Broad River Road: Fall 2010'

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  1. Tez's originated in what looked like a large mobile home unit located just off Bush River Road next to the (at the time) Motel 6 in the corner of BRR and I-26 and the current Wal-Mart outparcels in the mid '70s. It then moved across the interstate to the building now occupied by Heart Breakers at 800 BRR. It was there until some time in the '80s I believe.

    Mike

    19 May 11 at 6:30 am

  2. Tez's on Bush River was in the old location of the Hungry Bull, which I guess is currently Heartbreakers. I guess the original location across the interstate was the same building that housed "Miranda's" Mexican restaurant in the late 1980s, and would later house a "club" called "Bottoms Up," for a short while. (Hmmm . . . is there a pattern here???)

    Unrelated, I actually ate at MudBones this past weekend. I liked it, and I hope they can make it. Friarsgate Plaza has definitely seen better days.

    badger

    19 May 11 at 8:18 am

  3. I think the owner’s name was Frank Cortez, and he would occasionally call in his radio spots (like JJ at the Lite House). I remember once when he was explaining about Mexican food, and that mostly it’s not really as hot as its reputation (back in the mid 1980s when Mexican restaurants were still somewhat uncommon). Once, when he was doing a radio spot, the in-studio guest was comedian Kip Adotta, who was appearing at one of the local comedy clubs. He asked Tez if he knew how to make Chicken Suiza, because he (Adotta) had encountered very few people who really knew how to make it. Tez replied, “Chicken Suiza? Oh, sure.” Some years later, I did try Chicken Suiza somewhere, and I thought it was pretty good, but nothing special. And looking at what comprised it, I didn’t see what would be so difficult in the preparation for any decent cook. But, again, Adotta had made those comments in the mid 1980s when we didn’t have a Monterey in every strip mall.

    Also, in regard to Mexican food’s alleged “heat,” Tez would say, “When it’s not, it’s not, but, brother, when it’s hot, it’s HOT!” BTW, a frequent customer at this Tez’s was James Best, Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, himself, who at the time owned a home on Lake Murray. I ate at this Tez’s once. It was OK, but I never went back. The only thing I remember about the meal was the home-made chips. Sometimes when places make their own, they come out leathery and stuck together, as was the case when I went.

    badger

    19 May 11 at 9:19 am

  4. Thanks for sharing all of that, Badger. I need to go to Mudbone's. That menu is right up my alley! And in regard to your first posting about the original location of Hungry Bull, it was also JAWS!

    Jonathan

    19 May 11 at 10:22 am

  5. I thought the Monterrey's on Broad River by 20 was listed here, but I don't see it in alphabetical. On the way in this morning, I saw that someone was doing some work on the place. The doors were open and it looked as though there were contractors there.

    jonathan

    17 Jul 13 at 12:04 pm

  6. I used to eat lunch often at the original location back in the mid 1970's. It was great, and reasonably priced.

    Bob

    21 Jul 13 at 3:17 pm

  7. I remember eating at Tez's in the mid 90's. I loved the denver burrito and was hoping to find the recipe. I love mexican food and my favorite place to eat is El pablanos. The best people though are found at San Jose in Ballentine. They have opened a new restaurant, but the original has the nicest people you will ever meet.

    Krysta Browning

    30 Dec 13 at 8:00 pm

  8. Krysta,

    Give Chapala a try. It is located in Murraywood Plaza, where 1-2-3/Stinger's, etc. was located. Very nice people as well, and the food is very good. They have nightly specials. I highly recommend the Pollo Fundido and the three fajitas special. Forgot what the actual dish is called.

    jonathan

    2 Jan 14 at 11:29 am

  9. All these fine people that are taking the time to critique various food places, should be commended! Our industry needs all this input, and remember, a lot of us listen! My only regret, is having reached a time in my life when I had to say, "No mas"! Old father time! Just had to retire from an industry I so enjoyed for almost 60 yrs. ! So thank you all that have taken the time to remember my dear ole Tez's, you have no idea how it soothes my soul !

    Frank Cortez

    10 Nov 14 at 10:57 am

  10. Mexican Restaurants of interest: Chapala's--El Poblano--Real Mexico--Jalisco's! Ownership and management are doing a great job with food and service..............You may want to let them know Tez says so!

    Frank Cortez

    10 Nov 14 at 1:41 pm

  11. Holy crap....is this the real Frank Cortez?

    Speaking as a guy whose relationship and marriage to a wonderful woman was built around weekly dates at the various Mexican restaurants around town, i both thank you and tip my hat for your years of preparing delicious food and helping expand the market for that style of food here in Columbia. Tez's and Little Mexico were two of our favorite stops. Both are sorely missed.

    Maybe even more importantly, when i got married and found that i actually enjoyed doing some of the cooking duties, Tex-Mex was the first genre of food i delved into. Now 20 years later, im told by various people i whip up a pretty mean batch of fajitas.

    So thanks for getting me married, feeding me all those years and inspiring me to expand my horizons.

    IrmoJeff

    12 Nov 14 at 8:58 pm

  12. @Frank Cortez - thank you for one of the people that introduced me to Mexican food. Back in the day, there were only two places I would go where I could find delicious food at great prices. Tez's and El Menchaca were to ONLY two places I would go. Thank you for your years of dedication. I only wish there were more restaurants like yours instead of the 'cookie-cutter' Mexican places that seem to be on everywhere today!!!!

    Homer

    13 Nov 14 at 1:45 am

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