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The Dish: Hidalgo's Mexican Restaurant

· Open since: The Lawrenceville location has been open since 2003. The other Hidalgo's, in Marietta, has been around since 1993.

· Location: Hidalgo's sits in the leftmost end of the Publix shopping center at the corner of Sugarloaf Parkway and Five Forks Trickum, right across the street from Frontera.

· Owner: A true family business, Hidalgo's is run primarily by owner Juan Marin and his brothers.

· Hours: The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

· Atmosphere: Marin wanted the decor at Hidalgo's to reflect the look and feel of the town from which his family came - Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico. "Like the old haciendas," he said, the restaurant is filled with iron chairs and light fixtures, the walls adorned with traditional art.

"We got all the furniture from Mexico, made by hand," Marin said.

Loyal regulars file in on midday respites from work to enjoy a taste of Hidalgo's amply stocked lunch buffet, served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day.

Even livelier is happy hour, when clocked-out cubicle dwellers belly up to the bar (and the sizable outdoor patio) in search of post-work margaritas and cervezas.

· Menu: The restaurant's most popular item is Hidalgo's fajitas - chicken and beef with sauteed onions, poblano peppers and a super savory secret sauce, served alongside refried beans and great big dollops of guacamole and sour cream.

The parrillada para dos, Marin said, is a huge hit with the more particular palates of the Latino crowd. With six ounces each of steak and chicken, plus four ounces of shrimp, a lobster tail, two prawns and pork chops, it truly is a meal fit "para dos" (for two).

Speaking of chicken, the pollo tarasco is another favorite - grilled chicken breast slathered in Mexican creme sauce, topped with poblano pepper and cheese, and served with rice, veggies and warm tortillas.

· Beverages: Like any Mexican restaurant worth its salt, Hidalgo's offers a wide variety of margarita flavors, including traditional and Texas-style, as well as lime, peach, strawberry, mango and kiwi. The eatery's signature drink, however - the aptly named Hidalgo's margarita - contains a slightly sweeter blend of juices like pineapple, orange and lime, along with a dose of Grand Gala and, most importantly El Abuelo Tequila, a Marin family specialty served out of an oak barrel behind the bar.

· Dessert: Try the to-die-for cheesecake chimichanga. This confectionary spin on the traditional Mexican dish - warm, delicious cheesecake, wrapped in a deep fried tortilla sprinkled in cinnamon and sugar, served with a side of ice cream - was crafted by Marin himself.

· Things you may not know: El Abuelo ("Grandfather") Tequila comes from an already-taken-to-the-grave Marin family recipe, which means once it runs out, it's gone forever. Luckily though, about 200 barrels remain, and Marin enjoys sharing it, often pouring shots for patrons at no charge.

"We give it away," he said.

SideBar: On the Menu

· Hidalgo's fajitas: The restaurant's most popular item - chicken and beef with sauteed onions, poblano peppers and a super savory secret sauce, served alongside refried beans and great big dollops of guacamole and sour cream.

· Parrillada para dos: With six ounces each of steak and chicken, plus four ounces of shrimp, a lobster tail, two prawns and pork chops, it truly is a meal fit "para dos" (for two).

· Pollo Tarasco: Grilled chicken breast slathered in Mexican creme sauce, topped with poblano peppers and cheese, and served with rice, veggies and warm tortillas.