Durango. Yes, the Northwestern state of Mexico and the city serves as its capital. It’s also the home of Jesus and Maria Favela, owners of the popular local restaurant – Durango. Jesus and Maria came to the United States some 30 years ago. After a time in California, it was not long before they came to this area and soon opened Durango.
Durango has been an Auburn-Opelika tradition for 25 years and serves as a foundation of the restaurant business here in our area. The original location on Columbus Pkwy closed recently. The property is being redeveloped for another use.
Family-operated restaurants are often one of the most inviting places to dine. The fact that family members are devoted to the many guests who return again and again makes the dining experience that much more pleasant. They become part of the family, too. That’s the case at Durango. During our visits, we have seen people greeted with the sincere warmth that makes us want to come back.
Dishes honest to their roots in Mexican Cuisine
Jesus told us that the basis of his recipes is partially family. Although they have no prior restaurant background, their family shares a love and passion for food. “Maria is the one. She creates our dishes, and she’s the brains of the kitchen. She tries to keep our dishes honest to their roots in Mexico.”
True, she’s in there some but Jesus’ brother-in-law is the chef. “He’s hands-on in the kitchen every day.” His eyes have that sparkle of creativity that was evident in meeting him. The entire family radiates the warmth of hospitality. A look at Durango reveals the heart of Tex-Mex cuisine. It shows hints of authentic Mexican fare and theirs is truly a traditional approach. Quality is important at Durango, this was evident in their dishes made using fine fresh ingredients.
Owner’s Special Guacamole
Traditional appetizers are offered at every meal including bean and cheese dips plus nachos. The guacamole is special. Jesus says, “I eat it every day.” It sure made us very happy. Chips and salsa are too often mundane, but not at Durango. The freshly made salsa has a deep flavor and a touch of heat. A habanero version is also available upon request for the diners who enjoy the extra spice.
Classic Mexican Pozole is served daily and a very special Caldo de mariscos shows off a talented kitchen. A spicy chile con carne is also a solid choice. Several salads round out this part of the menu. A small but adequate kids’ menu is served at all meals.
A variety of tacos, enchiladas, and burritos are available. Quesadillas, too. Flautas and chimichangas are not strangers either. Looking for real chicken mole? Assorted sopes? Tortas? Chiles rellenos? (Our favorite – stuffed with cheese) Durango is a find.
Jesus is particularly proud of his shrimp dishes and how Maria has developed these recipes. The a la Mexicana we tried was excellent. He has a special liking for shrimp and carne asada.
Durango offers several lunch specials, much of which were unexpected. Our favorite was no. 1. This combination of a taco, burrito, and enchilada showed off the kitchen and gave us lots of variety. It was very affordably priced and came with chips and salsa.
The look and feel of Durango are fresh and clean. A private dining space is easily accessible and if you are looking for outdoor dining, there’s plenty available as well. There’s a small but comfortable bar at one end where you’ll find some specialty tequilas tucked away there.
One more thing – Jesus says Durango’s most popular dishes are quesadillas and fajitas. There are happy hour offerings and daily margaritas specials. He also reminded us about taco Tuesday- not bad things to remember when deciding what to order.
Durango for Authentic Tex-Mex in Opelika
Durango is located at 1706 Frederick Road in Opelika. This is just one block away from Gateway Drive in the heart of Tiger Town with plenty of well-lit parking. They serve every day from 11 am till 10 pm. All major credit cards are accepted.
Want to get your food packed to pick up? Durango makes lots of orders every day. How about delivery? FetchMe is the service of choice. Place your order at FetchMe to try some of their popular favorites or discover something new.