Out & About

Unusual and authentic Mexican dishes makes Guitarras Mexican Grill stand out in midstate

Guitarras Mexican Grill’s Macon Special, shrimp and steak over a bed of rice and vegetables, is served with salsa and chips.
Guitarras Mexican Grill’s Macon Special, shrimp and steak over a bed of rice and vegetables, is served with salsa and chips. bcabell@macon.com

I know, I know. Does Macon really need another Mexican restaurant? That depends on whether you enjoy sitting outside overlooking the treetops while you scarf down your queso fundido and taquitos fritos.

Guitarras Mexican Grill, the former home of Taylor Made Grill has been refitted as a bright yellow Mexican cantina, perched on a hidden hillside on the west end of the Publix plaza. Even looking over the roof of Steak ‘n’ Shake, you will feel transported to Southern Mexico eating your carnitas y pollo azado los Esperamos under a red umbrella.

We came for an early dinner and there were just a few other diners, but this would be a great place for a big group as well as a quiet date. There’s a small bar on the right, lots of windows, and tall banquettes and a stylish recessed ceiling that give the place an upscale feel.

While they have all of the staples you would expect at a Mexican restaurant, they have a few I haven’t encountered here before. The best was an appetizer simply called jalapeño skins, with fresh jalapeño halves hollowed out and stuffed with chorizo and cheese. Manny’s ranch potatoes and the Guitarras signature dip also are both worth a try.

The Mojarra frita is a beautifully fried whole fish for $13.50, and the generous burritos Morelos for $9.50 are worthy of any taco truck. The enchiladas -- Aztecas, Mexicanas and Supremas -- are all expertly made and a deal at about $8 a plate. They also offer Baja-style pelons, which I haven’t seen on any Middle Georgia menu.

Their homemade agua frescas include tamarindo, horchata and jamaica (which, if you didn’t take Spanish, means hibiscus).

They also offer 10 percent off for fire department, police and military.

All the usual dishes are at least as good as any other place in town, but it’s the unusual ones that make Guitarras stand out. Of course they have tacos, burritos, enchiladas and cheese dip, but they also have menudo, ceviche and sopes. If you have enjoyed the authenticity of the Mexican food on the south side of town, Guitarras gives you that same experience on the north side now.

Go to their Facebook page to see what specials they have each day -- many of their posts are in Spanish so you can dust off your high school knowledge translating posts like, “Hoy vamos a vender un Rico caldo de puerco picosito acompañado con cilantro, cevolla y unas ricas tortillas hechas amano y por supuesto una cerveza bien fria!”

As the cooler temperatures roll in, a table on Guitarras’ patio will be the perfect place to enjoy their authentic Southern Mexican cuisine. Grab a seat, order your chilaquiles, and watch the sun go down.

Guitarras Mexican Grill

Address: 157 Tom Hill Sr. Blvd., Macon

Phone: 478-254-8222

Website: www.guitarrasmexicangrill.com

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday

Payment: Cash, credit

Smoking: No

Alcohol: Yes

Kids Menu: Yes

Noise Level: Low

Health Rating: 83

Price range: $6.25-$13.50

Rating: 3 stars