"Rudy's is not your typical Mexican restaurant," said Rudy Garza, owner of .
As Garza celebrates his sixth anniversary this week, he appreciates where he has come from and is focused on future plans for expansion. He wants to continue to offer Mexican food and drinks that customers will find nowhere else. While the anniversary was Dec. 6, Garza is hosting an Anniversary Celebration on Friday, Dec. 9 at Rudy's Mexican Grill, 55 Barron Blvd. (Route 83), just north of Center Street in Grayslake.
"The food we serve has changed over the past six years," Garza said. "It's different than any other Mexican restaurant in Lake County. We make our own seasonings."
He said their skirt steak is top quality and one of their specialties. The Parrillada mixta family-style dinner combines the skirt steak, chicken breast, marinated pork, smoked sausage, grilled shrimp and prawns into a tasty pile from which customers can make their own tacos.
"Our guacamole is fresh and made to order," Garza said. "I use a Mexican brand of avocados. I pick up a delivery once a week from the south side of Chicago."
Customers can enjoy authentic Mexican entrees such as fajitas, tostadas or enchiladas. They also can try molcajeteadas served in a large mortar for one person with a combination of meats and chicken or seafood mixed with a spicy diablo sauce.
"I serve food from seven regions in Mexico," said Garza, who grew up in south Texas.
Within the last year, Garza added a full-service bar to Rudy's.
"Everybody's talking about our new margarita menu," Garza said. "We offer 11 different margaritas, six low-calorie margaritas, Brazilian rum and so much more."
Mixologist Juan "Big Herc" Hernandez has created unique drinks such as ElDialbito, a spicy margarita with brandy and muddled red jalapeño rimmed with salt and crushed red pepper. Or, for something sweeter, there are chocolate margaritas and tres leches martinis.
"People have responded very well to the bar," Garza said.
Rudy's is known for its small, cozy feel with room for about 48 people and the bar. A sign on the mantle sums up the philosophy of Rudy's: Enter as a stranger, leave as a friend.
Rudy's recently won the Lake County Chowdown Showdown on Patch where he was voted to have the best Mexican food in northern Lake County. Here are a few of the comments from loyal customers:
- "I vote for RudysMexican Grill in Grayslake. Their food is excellent and to die for! Very ethnic food and lot of variety to choose from. 5 stars to Rudy's!!" - Marlene M.
- "RudysMexican Grill is the best! The Flan is the big finish to a great meal. Thanks Rudy!" - Peter H.
"I love the small little family atmosphere we have here," Garza said, smiling. "I try to connect with everybody who comes in. I talk to everybody. Sometimes it is standing room only in here."
The Future and The Past
Garza wants to branch out in the future. He said he is looking for a second location up north toward the Wisconsin border but stressed that he plans to keep the Grayslake location open.
He admitted that the past year has not been easy. The sluggish economy is especially hard on small restaurants, Garza said. In addition, he had to deal with a police situation.
A former employee was charged with a sexual assault on an underage employee at the restaurant last year when Garza was away. Garza filed a police report, fired the employee and had the health department immediately inspect and approve the restaurant to reopen.
"I could never understand what happened," Garza said. "I was not a part of it."
Since then, Garza has a new crew of employees and renovated the interior of the restaurant.
"That experience made me stronger, and ever since then, business has picked up," he said. "I appreciate the encouragement of customers and new friends. My faith in God got me through. It's been a year since it happened and we're totally different now. We have stayed in business due to the quality of the food. It our food and our service that keeps people coming back."
For information, call Rudy's at 1-847-223-6176 or visit their website.