Fajitas Mexican Restaurant

1680 Mall of Georgia Blvd.,

Buford 678-482-2992

•Open since: July

•Capacity: The restaurant seats about 140.

•Location: Fajitas is located across the street from the Mall of Georgia, in the parking lot of a shopping center anchored by Ross and Marshalls. It shares a building with Ted's Montana Grill and Subway.

•Hours: The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

•Atmosphere: This bright Mexican restaurant is full of color. Tables are matched with neon chairs in blue, red, yellow, orange and pink. Red and orange walls are decorated with hanging Mexican handicrafts, including baskets and pottery. Other walls are decorated with frescos of desert scenes.

Upside down tin Corona buckets are transformed into lanterns hanging above the booths. A large bar, decked out in blue Christmas lights and neon Corona signs, serves up a huge variety of top-shelf tequilas.

The decor lends a festive ambience to the restaurant, which is heightened on Thursdays, when a live mariachi band plays music in the restaurant.

•The food: Fajitas serves a blend of authentic Mexican dishes and Tex-Mex favorites.

The most popular choice, as you might guess, is the fajitas, especially the Flaming Tequila Fajitas, served with seasoned steak, chicken and shrimp and topped with a shot of gold tequila, said owner Paris Retana.

Other popular items include La Changa Loca chimichangas - flour tortillas rolled with chicken or shredded beef, lightly fried, and topped with cheese dip - as well as the Mexico City Chile Poblano, a pepper hand-stuffed with cheese or beef, dipped in egg batter, deep fried and covered with ranchero sauce.

For the adventurous eater, there's the Monster Burrito, an 18-inch giant stuffed with ground beef or chicken, beans and rice and covered with melted cheese and the restaurant's special sauce. Anyone who can finish the entire burrito gets a complimentary dessert of sopapillas, Retana said.

The menu also includes enchiladas, tacos, flautas, quesadillas, carne asada and carnitas. All the salsas and pico de gallo are made fresh each day.

•Beverages: The restaurant serves Coke products, as well as a selection of Hispanic and domestic beers, wines and sangria. But the owners are most proud of the bar's tequila offerings, which are served in snifters or in margaritas.

•Desserts: Choices include caramel flan, sopapillas and churros, as well as fried ice cream, brownie sundaes and strawberry shortcake.

•Things you might not know: Fajitas has two other locations, in Gainesville and Cumming. The small chain focuses on good food and quality customer service, said restaurant owner Retana. Eventually, the chain will likely expand.

"We're not a huge chain, like On the Border or Don Pablo's. But we're looking forward to being a bigger corporation," Retana said.

The restaurant has a to-go counter at the bar and offers delivery for $20-minimum orders within in a 2-mile radius. A menu of party platters is also available.

The Post profiles a different area restaurant each week. If you have a recommendation for us to check out, e-mail features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

n Fajitas Flameadas: Marinated steak or chicken strips served with a side of rice, refried beans, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo and a choice of corn or flour tortillas ($10.85).

•Shrimp a la Veracruzana: Sauteed shrimp, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes cooked in Veracruz sauce with olives and spices. Served with rice, lettuce, guacamole and sour cream ($11.99).

•Quesadilla Rellena: A grilled flour tortilla stuffed with cheese, shredded beef, pico de gallo and refried beans. Served with lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes and sour cream ($6.75).

•Mexicali Chicken Salad: Crispy chicken tenders served on a bed of fresh salad greens, topped with chopped celery, scallions, roasted almonds, apple slices and honey mustard dressing ($7.49).