El Maguey

(Appears to be closed)
El Maguey is the name of the new restaurant that went in to the somewhat notorious bright orange building across from Bentley's and the Conference Center.

I have to admit I did not expect to like this restaurant as much as I do. I find myself going back every week or so to dine with friends, introduce new people to it, or just pick up a quick bite to eat.

Most of the building has been repainted to a more muted tone and they seem to have done a little remodeling on the inside as well. The restaurant seemed clean and inviting. They are adding a bar area with taps at one end of the room and it looks like they've added some new lighting to that area as well. There is generally a soccer game on one of the TVs and usually a little mariachi style music playing in the background. Signs on the windows note their $4 lunch specials and happy hour prices.

One evening a group of friends gathered at El Maguey for a little dinner and some catching up. We were given a choice between two large table groupings and our drink orders were taken right away. The staff are very helpful and kind and are willing to answer all kinds of questions including the meaning of the restaurant name (Translation: The Agave Plant). 

Prices are extremely reasonable and the menu is extensive and includes some combination plates, lots of interesting specials, and a "From the Grill" section. After some discussion, asking a few clarifying questions about entrees, and a lot of serious decision making, we picked our meals and ordered. When one of our group wanted to add extra veggies and substitute things, they were extremely gracious and didn't even charge her for all the extras.

The food was brought out quite promptly, especially considering we were a group of eight. Our drinks were refilled throughout the dinner, and more chips and salsa were offered by the staff as well.
Everyone was very happy with their food selections. The group noted that the enchilada sauce had amazing flavor, the shredded beef was clearly slow cooked and was tender and flavorful, and the quesadilla was packed with fillings (cheese, beef, mushrooms). 

I have already been back many times and I know that many of the group there that night have also returned. I returned with my family, including my young nieces (5 and 2) and was pleased to see a very nice kid's menu and paper cups with lids for the kids. This is definitely a family friendly place, although mom and dad might like to try one of their delicious margaritas or stop in for a beer and a soccer game.

260 Liberty St SE
Salem, OR 97301

Phone: 503-990-6510
Hours: M-F 10:30 AM-10:00 PM  Sat-Sun 11:00 AM-10:00 PM


Anonymous said...

We tried going late Friday afternoon. Their signs flashed open, and their hours of operation indicated that they should have been open.

Their doors were locked. Out of business? Close when they want? I saw a head moving around in there. Won't be going back.

Rebekah said...

Yep. Unfortunately it looks lke they are closed. Walked by and saw water and gas turnoff notes on the door. :(