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Margarita’s Celebrating 30 Years

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Margarita’s opened their first location in October 1985 at the same time the Royals won the World Series. It started as a vision of two General Motors workers who sold burritos to their friends at work; the founding team was made up of Dave Quirarte, Jr. and Ron Abarca. With a goal of bringing truly authentic Mexican cuisine to the Kansas City metro area, the restaurant has now grown to five locations. The original Southwest Boulevard location remains a mainstay. This location has been through three major floods, including the flood of 1993, when water was up to the front awning and two workers had to be rescued by firefighters. It’s a favorite of many locals and visiting celebrities, including Jimmy Buffett.

Dave Quirarte is passing the reins of the business to his son, Jason, and has added partner Larry Gromer to the four other locations. The restaurant’s Margarita’s Amigos salsa and spices are so popular that they are now commercially available nationwide and they also ship overseas.

What put the restaurant on the map is its namesake. Frequently voted as having the best margaritas in town, they have more than 19 varieties. Most popular are the traditional margarita on the rocks, frozen margarita, strawberry and the royal blue margarita, especially popular during Royals season.

No matter which location you visit, the menu is the same and quite varied. A visit isn’t complete without trying their margarita dip, which is a white hot pepper cheese dip with secret ingredients. And of course each table gets complimentary chips and house salsa. Another nice appetizer or meal choice is the Fajita Chicken Quesadillas, which are loaded with onions, peppers, grilled chicken and come with an assortment of toppings including freshly prepared guacamole, sour cream, chopped tomato and onion with cilantro and shredded lettuce.

I also love the tacos here. They make the hard shells in house and curl them so that the fillings inside don’t fall out. If you’re also a fan, don’t miss Tuesday Tacos, when these are on special for buy one, get one free.

Another favorite is the naked burrito, which is naturally gluten free as it contains no tortilla or chips. It is simply a large plate of everything that normally goes inside and outside of a burrito. You get a choice of beef, pork, chicken or shredded beef served on a bed of lettuce with no tortilla and topped with soupy beans, pico de gallo and parmesan cheese. For an upcharge you can add or substitute steak, shrimp, crab or fajita chicken.

The best sellers are the #5 Baja plate and the #8 Margarita’s special. The Baja includes a deep-fried or authentic taco and two cheese and onion enchiladas served with beans and rice. The house favorite, the Margarita’s special, is a flour tortilla stuffed with ground beef, pork chili and beans, then covered in your choice of creamy queso or Margarita dip. It’s accompanied with rice. All of the portion sizes are plentiful at Margarita’s and the food is served quickly and hot.

For drinks after a long day of work, there is no better place to be than the patio at Margarita’s Northland or Martin City locations. In its relaxing atmosphere, there are daily happy hour specials available seven days a week at all locations from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. You can’t go wrong with their award-winning Ultimate Margarita or one of the other specialty drinks available.

This is also a family-friendly dinner destination. With kids’ specials for only $5.99, including complimentary chips and salsa, you can dine in style without breaking the bank. They even have chicken fingers and fries, if you have a non-adventurous eater who doesn’t like Mexican food. Kids are always good for dessert, and the sopapillas and Mexican fried ice cream here don’t disappoint.

Overall, Margarita’s has great food and atmosphere and extremely friendly service. It is a definite recommend for anyone in the area, whether it’s for a quick lunch, happy hour with friends or large family event. For those seeking a venue for a private event or needing a caterer, Margarita’s is a great option for anyone considering quality Mexican food.

You won’t get a cookie-cutter approach to Mexican food here. They have five area locations, but this isn’t a chain. The owners care about their patrons and they have successfully kept their business alive for 30 years, which speaks volumes. Put this on your list of places to visit. HLM


Margarita’s five locations are: Southwest Boulevard, 2829 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, MO, 816-931-4849; North, 7013 N Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, MO, 816-468-0337; Liberty, 1910 Victory Dr., Liberty, MO., 816-781-4440; Martin City, 13401 Holmes, Kansas City, MO, 816-326-7421; and Lenexa, 7890 Quivira Road, Lenexa, KS., 913-631-5553. Visit them on the web at