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Margarita’s Amigos: Resilient Success

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After 34 years and three floods later, Margarita’s on the Boulevard is still going strong,” original owner Dave Quirarte said with pride as he dipped a tortilla chip into a bowl of the restaurant’s famous salsa. The increasingly competitive restaurant business makes it hard enough for venues to keep their doors open, but competition in addition to the three separate instances of unfathomable water damage couldn’t shake this KC food scene staple. Margarita’s has mastered the recipe for success.

Painted water lines mark the walls of the original, newly renovated Southwest Boulevard location, allowing patrons to visualize ten feet of water that wiped out everything and claimed one life. Dave credits “the Crossroads District and the people of Kansas City” for consistent business and the ability to move forward. The water lines and a framed aerial photo of the restaurant post-flood are the only evidence that the space was once submerged.

A beautiful new bar, complete with lighting accents and dual televisions, is the perfect spring setting to catch up with friends and root on the Royals. Grab a sinfully sweet, made-to-order Strawberry Margarita or a pucker-inducing pitcher of Royal Blue Margaritas. Margarita’s Amigos offers many different kinds of margaritas, all sure to quench your thirst for fun. Enjoy an even wider selection of fine wines and smooth Mexican beers at great prices, especially during happy hour from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

After you’ve carefully selected your drink of choice, dive into the real challenge: choosing your entrée, all while trying to stop yourself from filling up on toasted tortilla chips and fresh, spicy salsa. The menu includes an array of shareable starters, lighter options, customizable entrees, specials, kids’ picks and desserts. Dave’s personal recommendation is the #5 Baja, two beef enchiladas, a taco, rice and beans.

I opted to prep my palate with two classic tacos. Crunchy, deep-fried corn tortillas are stuffed with seasoned beef, potato, beans, lettuce, cheese and tomatoes. The basic taco canvas is yours for the making; swap beef for carnitas pork, steak with queso fresco or tilapia with mango salsa. 

You can taste the quality somewhere between layers of cheese and crisp veggies. “Margarita’s food is made fresh daily,” Dave said. “We have our prep cook arrive at 5:00 a.m. and cook fresh every day. We’ve got it down. There’s very little left over at night.” My next plate was the notorious house favorite: #8, the Margarita Special. Soft, double-layered flour tortillas are packed with ground beef, pork chili and beans, smothered in a velvety, creamy margarita dip. The plate evokes an exciting white-hot kick of flavor, the perfect solution to mundane mid-week dinner boredom. 

In addition to tasty cocktails and a menu built to suit any Mexican food fan, the service is even sweeter than the Mango Marg. Servers and bartenders alike greet customers like family, appropriately aligned with Margarita’s foundation. Dave’s son, Jason, has taken over the Southwest Boulevard location. It means a lot to Jason to work so closely with his dad. “It’s an honor to keep this tradition going for over 34 years, and I hope to keep it going for another 30+ years. Our goal is to keep Kansas City rocking and rolling and for Margarita’s Amigos to keep growing with this city.” 

Drop into any of Margarita’s Amigos five locations: Lenexa, Martin City, Liberty, Gladstone and the original on Southwest Boulevard. Visit for menu previews. 

Written by: Meg Kraft

Cravings writer Meg Kraft is a Kansas City transplant from Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to wining, dining and writing, she is a social media specialist and wedding blogger. Meg and her fiancé love exploring their new home and experiencing every flavor that the KC food scene has to offer. She is a pet parent to three French Bulldogs and an avid Kansas City Chiefs fan. Her life motto: count the memories, not the calories.