Quesadillas at Mexicali

Mexicali doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside this neighborhood dive are cheap eats and a friendly, low-key atmosphere. “You don’t have to wait an hour and half for a table,” owner Justin Morales says. “We want people to come in here and eat and get to know the neighborhood. You can even come in here and get a table for one and not feel weird about it.” His dad, Joshua, opened Mexicali in the shopping center at Northwest Highway and Jupiter 13 years ago, having worked in some of Dallas’ major Tex-Mex restaurants such as El Chico. He applied some of that knowledge to his own place. “We’re small, but we’re standing on their shoulders,” Morales says. “We use chili in a lot of our food. We just do Tex-Mex — not Mexican. Mexican tends to be just tacos with cilantro.” Popular dishes include quesadillas, fajitas and nachos. Mexicali also continues the Dallas tradition of the $4.50 enchilada special on Wednesdays — cheaper than most fast-food joints. In fact, there’s a $4.50 lunch special every day of the week. The most expensive items on the lunch menu are fajitas, which top out at a whopping $6.75.

Jupiter & Northwest Highway

Three more dive-y spots in Lakewood

1 Lakewood Landing
This award-winning dive bar serves up “the” burger, which comes with either cheddar, provolone, Swiss or blue cheese for just $5.75.
Live Oak & Skillman

2 Ships Lounge
This dusty, nautical-themed tavern has cheap drinks and good vibes, however, word on the street is the owner does not allow cursing.
Greenville & Hudson

3 The Goat
Stop by this dive for live blues music on Monday and Tuesday nights.
7248 Gaston

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