Editor’s note: Ground Zero visits restaurants outside of Lincoln each July.
WAHOO – A former Lincoln Journal Star employee recently texted me asking for a Mexican restaurant recommendation outside of Lincoln and Omaha. I sent it to Wahoo.
This is where you’ll find the Acapulco Mexican Grill & Bar, one of the best Mexican restaurants in southeast Nebraska. Founded in 2010 by Jesus Zaragoza and his family, Acapulco operated in downtown Wahoo, but moved in November to a larger location with parking at 1201 N. Chestnut St.
Known for its fajitas, Acapulco also offers an extensive eight-page menu of other Mexican favorites, including burritos and enchiladas as well as several steak, chicken, fish and shrimp dishes.
The new location is quite something. It is on the corner, with parking and entrances available at the north and south ends of the building. Inside are three large dining rooms decorated in bright colors and Mexican-themed wall decor. Seating consists of comfortable padded booths along the walls and tables and chairs dotting the floor. The bar is in the dining room with televisions and high tables.
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My wife and I dined on a Tuesday, thinking the restaurant wouldn’t be so busy on a weeknight. We were wrong. The south lot was already full when we arrived and the north lot had a few cars. But, with plenty of seating and staff to work the tables, we didn’t have to wait. They drove us straight to a stand, brought us our free homemade corn chips and mild, not spicy salsa, and immediately returned our margarita order.
Our server then asked if we needed a minute with the menu. We needed several because the menu was so big. The larger sections had more than 10 choices. The burrito and enchilada section, for example, had 23 choices. Even the vegetarian section had seven options. And, yes, combination plates were available. You can create your own (one to four items), choosing from tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, chili rellenos, tamales and burritos.
We ordered house specials. Rebecca had Chicken Chilaquiles Mexicanos ($11.49) and I ordered the Bandera Mexicana ($12.40).
The chilaquiles featured corn tortillas topped with a choice of chicken or beef, a special sauce and cheese and served with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, guacamole and sour cream and a side of Mexican rice and refried beans. It was comparable to nachos.
My dish was a combo plate, including beef enchilada with green sauce, chicken chimichanga with cheese sauce, and chile relleno with ranchero sauce and served with Mexican rice. The enchilada and chimichanga were packed with large amounts of meat. The tasty dish allowed to taste different foods and homemade sauces.
Appetizer prices range from $10.99 to $17.99, with most entrees going for $12 or $13. Acapulco has a lunch menu available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, with prices ranging from $6.99 to $9.49. Our tab, without the margaritas, was $23.98 for both entrees.
The bar menu features a variety of flavored margaritas, national and Mexican beers, and specialty drinks. We ordered 16 oz margaritas on the rocks with salt ($7.49 each). They were so good, we got a second round. If we had known we would have liked them so much, we would have ordered a pitcher and saved about $10.
We were impressed with our visit. The food, ambience and service – we spent more time with the menu than waiting for the food to arrive from the kitchen – were excellent. The restaurant draws many of its patrons from Lincoln, Fremont, Elkhorn and surrounding communities. It is easy to understand why.
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Mexican Restaurants to Try in Lincoln
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Jeff Korbelik is the cellar manager of James Arthur Vineyards, former editor of the Journal Star and author of “Lost Restaurants of Lincoln, Nebraska.” He has been writing restaurant reviews for Ground Zero since 1998.