Jose's Restaurant and Grill: Mexican and a whole lot more on U.S. 49 near Magee
Despite the health crisis, summer is here and many of us are hitting the road for a change of scenery and if possible, a safe place to vacation, even if only for a day trip.
At some point on the journey, the need to stop, stretch our legs and enjoy a meal outside the realm of fast food arises. Here’s a tip to use this weekend or anytime you’re on U.S. 49 near Magee: Jose’s Restaurant and Grill. It’s my go-to spot whenever I’m in the area and craving shrimp and grits, a grilled steak or burger or loaded potato.
I’m sure you may be wondering about my favorites, especially when the name Jose’s signals I’m talking about a Mexican restaurant, but I can explain. I’ve previously shared that Mexican cuisine, which can be heavy and unappetizing-looking at times, is my least favorite. However, that opinion changes when I walk through the door at Jose’s.
Family-owned restaurant with high standards
For starters, Jose’s is a family-owned place and oftentimes, that means the difference between a pleasant dining experience and a less-than-stellar one. Wait staff are always on their game and eager to please, something that goes a long way in my book. And, perhaps most important, learning from a former cook at the restaurant that owner Jose Perdomo is a stickler for cleanliness and has extremely high standards for kitchen staff moved Jose’s near the top of my frequently visited restaurants.
Whether you choose a table in the bright, airy dining rooms or dine al fresco on the airy outdoor patio under a colorful umbrella, either venue will certainly liven any lunch or dinner. Jose's is following recommended guidelines to insure safe dining, including limited seating, disposable menus and social distancing of all guests. Takeout service is also available.
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For starters, the restaurant's modernized versions of traditional Mexican appetizers and entrees are quite tasty and always fresh. Menu offerings are extensive and cover the gamut of Mexican dishes with several Americanized versions of south-of-the-border favorites along with the aforementioned shrimp and grits and burgers.
Full disclosure: I’ve never ordered an appetizer at Jose’s for the simple reason that the overflowing baskets of seasoned homemade tortilla chips and salsa are so filling and delicious. There’s usually not enough time to order one between the chips and salsa and time to order an entrée.
Appetizers and salads
However, if you do decide to order one, there’s no shortage of starters, including Jose’s nachos ($8.95), fajita quesadilla ($8.95-$9.95) and flautitas ($8.50).
I failed to mention this in my list of favorites, but another item I frequently order when time is short and I desire just a touch of Mexican cuisine is Jose’s fajita salad ($8.95-$9.95). A crispy tortilla bowl is layered with grilled onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, lettuce, tomato, green onion, black olives, jalepenos and cheese, along with your choice of chicken, steak, shrimp or all three. Topped with sour cream and served with a side salad, it’s a tasty, filling meal without the high drama of a sizzling plate of fajitas.
Also on the menu is an assortment of tacos ranging from crispy to soft, blackened fish to fajita, filled with your choice of meat, chopped vegetables and served with toppings, salad and two sides.
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Listed in the Mexican favorites section are fajita chimichanga, burrito supreme, Jose’s chimichanga, enchilada supreme, enchiladas de steak and tamales, to name a few. Entrees, reasonably priced at $8.95-$10.95, are served with a side salad, Spanish rice and choice of beans or black bean soup.
Sandwiches, steaks and loaded potatoes
Now, on to my favorite items on the menu and in my opinion, something Jose’s prepares better than almost any Mexican restaurant I’ve visited: American favorites. Under this category are Jose’s grilled chicken sandwich ($7.95), ultimate burger ($7.95), hamburger steak with vegetables and gravy ($8.95) and chicken tenders ($9.95), each of which are served with fries. The sandwiches and hamburger steaks are perfectly seasoned and grilled to perfection.
Loaded potatoes are also a good choice when eating light is on your agenda. Try the taco potato ($6.95) stuffed with ground beef, cheese, green onions and black olives and served with sour cream, butter and other condiments. There’s also the country potato ($6.95) filled with pulled chicken or beef and served with gravy and condiments and my favorite, the fajita potato ($7.97) filled with everything you’d except to find on a fajita platter, including grilled chicken, steak or shrimp.
Grilled entrees, incredible seafood
You won’t go wrong ordering anything from the house grill section. Good choices include sizzling fajitas ($12.95-$13.95), ribeye steak ($12.95), grilled steak and shrimp ($14.95), Jose’s T-bone ($13.95) and crazy shrimp ($9.95) a hearty dish filled with Spanish rice, grilled shrimp, chopped vegetables and white cheese sauce.
And now, to describe one of my favorite dishes. I normally order shrimp and grits on the Gulf Coast, but thanks to Jose’s, I’m able to enjoy it in Magee. Large seasoned grilled shrimp are served over house made cheese grits and topped with seasoned shrimp and crawfish etouffee sauce, green onion, bacon pieces and cheese. At $9.95, it’s delicious as well as economical.
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Other seafood selections are fried shrimp or fried catfish ($12.95) served with side salad and fries and blackened fish topped with fresh mango salsa and remoulade sauce ($10.95).
Jose’s also offers a variety of lighter side dishes, including veggie quesadilla ($7.95), grilled chicken breast ($7.95) and veggie tacos ($9.95), among others.
Kara Kimbrough is a freelance food and travel writer. Contact her at email@example.com.
If You Go
- What: Jose’s Restaurant and Grill
- Where: 834 Franklin Dr., SW adjacent to the Magee Walmart.
- When: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Saturday; closed on Sunday.