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The Dish: Cuernavaca Grill & Mexican Restaurant

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Open since: Cuernavaca Grill & Mexican Restaurant will celebrate 20 years of business in April.

Location: Cuernavaca is just off Grayson Highway near its intersection with Gwinnett Drive, adjacent to the Kroger.

ON THE MENU

• Cuernavaca's guacamole salad - Lettuce mixed with avocados, sliced tomatoes, onions and radishes, $3.95

• Mexican pizza - (Lunch) Two 8-inch flour tortillas stuffed with cheese and beef topped with cheese, tomato sauce, guacamole, sour cream and jalapenos and cut into eight slices, $6.95

• Mexican stew - Chunks of beef cooked with a pasilla pepper sauce and served with refried beans, rice and flour or corn tortillas, $9.25

• T-bone steak - Steak cooked with Mexican condiments and served with charros beans, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo and French fries, $13.95

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and noon to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

Owner: Lawrenceville resident Armando Rodriguez named the restaurant for his native city of Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Atmosphere: Cuernavaca has a vibrant atmosphere in which new customers and those who have been dining since the restaurant opened gather together. Rodriguez said Friday nights at Cuernavaca are almost like family reunions, with newcomers always welcome.

Booth and regular and high-top table seating fill the dining area, which is divided into two sections by a partial wall with the bar in back. Many of the scenes painted on the outer walls were taken from postcards from Rodriguez's home of Cuernavaca, including the government palace there and a waterfall.

Menu: Cuernavaca offers an assorted menu of authentic Mexican fare and Tex-Mex options.

The most popular specialties — the more than 20 authentic dishes on the menu — include the Cuernavaca's Grill of chicken, beef and chorizo grilled with onions and peppers served with lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, rice and refried beans, and the chile rellenos platter of poblano peppers stuffed with beef or cheese topped with a cheese sauce and tomato sauce served with a choice of rice and beans or vegetables. Rodriguez has lent his name to one of the specialties. Armando's Special includes grilled beef and ham strips with bacon, onions and peppers topped with melted cheese and served with flour or corn tortillas.

The chicken soup is also a popular selection, as well as the charros bean soup.

"Our chicken soup is the best," Rodriguez said. "We make it the way my mama made it when I was little, lots of vegetables, fresh ingredients."

Cuernavaca also serves lunch specials, including tacos, tostadas and burrito combinations as well as enchiladas, quesadillas and fajitas.

Customers can wash down their meals with a variety of beverages, including sodas, lemonade, milk and tea. Cuernavaca also serves beer, wine and liquor.

Things you might not know: Many of the recipes used in the kitchen at Cuernavaca are Rodriguez's mother's, including the recipe for flan, served up in a small slice with two dollops of whipped cream and topped with a strawberry.

If you have a restaurant you would like to see featured in The Dish, call Staff Writer Deanna Allen at 770-963-9205, ext. 1321, or e-mail deanna.allen@gwinnettdailypost.com.