Chula Vista Mexican Restaurant

(Is now closed)
260 Liberty St Se
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 588-7037

Before they put in the jumbo tron billboards all over Salem, the biggest eyesore in town was the pinkish, orange Chula Vista Mexican Restaurant on Liberty St. I think the color they're going for is mango. This building sat vacant for a number of months before the current occupants expanded their State St. restaurant into this downtown building. It gets your attention. Not wanting to judge a book by its' cover, I've been wanting to see if this place is any good. The theory is, if a restaurant can be painted a gosh awful color and remain in business, the food must be exceptional. In theory. In reality it would take more than a scientific hypothesis to get my family into the doors of this restaurant. What did it take, the words, "Kids Eat Free" on a banner draped over the window of the restaurant. If you have young kids, as I do, you've probably paid thousands of dollars on meals that were discarded after one bite. So when a restaurant offers to comp my kids, I'll walk through fire to eat there. It certainly wasn't an inferno here, in fact, it was freezing inside. They tried to seat us on one side of the restaurant but it was so cold and empty we asked to be moved to the other dining room where we thought more people would provide body heat to the chilly room. Chula Vista has a huge menu of Mexican dishes including the typical fare like enchiladas, tacos and burritos. But the menu is filled with dinners like Pollo en Mole Verde, Molcajete, and Pulpo a la Diabla which is a spicy octopus dish. The kids ordered the ever popular Chicken Tenders and Fries and the Taquito plate. Yes, those "blobs" are chicken tenders. To summarize the kids meals, the fries, chicken and rice were eaten but with not a lot of excitement. I played it safe and got the Steak Tacos al Carbon. Not bad, the tacos were a bit greasy. There wasn't really anything memorable about this dinner. The atmosphere was the same. The furniture was kind of mismatched for the space, and the lighting was dark and flat. All of the servers seemed happy though. They made a nice effort to smile and engage in small talk with the customers. I overheard one table near us, tell the server that they really enjoyed their dinner as she brought out the check. I can't imagine ever eating here again unless I drive by one day and a new banner reads, "Adults Eat Free!" Then again maybe not.

11 comments:

Stephanie said...

Oh my. That does NOT look appetizing...

jeff said...

Is the downtown one related to the one out at State and Lancaster?

filbert said...

What are those blobs on the french fries?!? The pictures do not make me anxious to try the Chula Vista.

Paul said...

they look like chicken nuggets.

Anonymous said...

LOL it looks like school lunch food
YUCKY

Anonymous said...

uh yea doesnt look good, actually looks like the generic mexican food

Anonymous said...

I eat at both locations all the time and love the food and the people who work there. It is one of the best places in Salem to eat. Who cares what color the building is. The food and service is the BEST in Salem. You must go for yourself to try it. Don't listen to those who do not know what real good food is.

Anonymous said...

nothing bad said about the food,prices and service. If you don't want to pay the price for a good meal go to taco bell. If you would like to try a good authentic and cheerfull place come here. Highlly recommended:)

Anonymous said...

But of course you losers would eat free or atleast you food stamp losers would bring by you kids to eat for free!! See if taco bell would give you a good dinner and service!! The way you took those pictures was so not the way they brought them out. I've ate their and I love everything they have to offer.

Anonymous said...

It is very clear that you comment regarding the color of the building because you do not come from a Latino cultural. I believe the Latino's are not affraid to be BOLD!! Any cultural that decor's as there culture is are AWESOME!! This is a statement meaning if you like it come if not don't. Real Mexican food come from the most humble places. They work hard and fresh all the time....So before thinking you need a red carpet rolled out to you think before you write. We live in a free country. It is great having so many restaurants from different culturals.....And don't be affraid about how the chicken nuggets look originally they are not made with the best parts of a chicken. These nuggets as any other restaurant are possibly bought from frozen prepacked foods. Enjoy!!

Anonymous said...

i think the guys that maid this are DUMB!
cHULA VISTA IS GREAT!the people thaT work there are all great! and the food is excellent! you guys need to try it be for you guys judge the place.