Eastside mainstay serves authentic Mexican cuisine
For more than 25 years, the Gonzalez family have been serving authentic Mexican food.
Patriarch Dario P. Gonzalez opened Dario’s on East Sixth Street in 1985.
Two years ago, he expanded to a second location, Don Dario’s, on I-35 near Slaughter Lane.
Dario P. Gonzalez’s sons, Dario D. and Eduardo, manage the two restaurants.
Eduardo Gonzalez said the restaurants have built up a loyal customer base that has been coming back for years.
“It’s a ritual for some people to come here. Customers [from the restaurant’s earlier days] are starting to bring their kids. I say to them, ‘I remember when you were this tall!’” he said.
Dario P. Gonzalez came to the United States from Mexico when he was 17 years old. He worked in mom and pop restaurants until he got a job as a dishwasher at El Matador.
“One day, one of the cooks wasn’t at work. [Dario P. Gonzalez] had been there for a long time. They told him to work on the line as a cook,” Eduardo Gonzalez said.
Dario P. Gonzalez started creating his own meals, inspired by his upbringing in the small Mexican city of Bejucos.
In 1985, Dario P. Gonzalez decided to open his own restaurant and started Dario’s at 1800 E. Sixth St. It was a hole-in-the-wall place with only six tables, but it became popular with the police officers who patrolled near the nightclub next door, Eduardo Gonzalez said.
“If there was ever an emergency, [you would not need to] call 911. Just call the restaurant,” he said.
When the nightclub shut down, Dario P. Gonzalez purchased the space and expanded the eatery to about 50 tables. Mariachi bands perform on Thursday nights and disc jockeys entertain on Fridays and Saturdays.
Don Dario’s serves the familiar favorites of Mexican cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. Patrons can watch employees make tortillas by hand near the bar.
The restaurant has a wide selection of breakfast tacos, omelets and platters, which it serves all day.
For the adventurous eater, Don Dario’s also serves highly authentic Mexican dishes, such as cabrito (baby goat), tripas (intestines) and menudo, a Mexican soup made from beef stomach.
Eduardo Gonzalez said the soup is considered a hangover cure and was popular after Cinco de Mayo.
“A lot of people grew up eating menudo and did not know what it was, but love it,” he said.
The two restaurants remain a family enterprise. Eduardo Gonzalez has worked in the restaurant for years, first as a cook, then manager of Don Dario’s.
Dario P. Gonzalez drops by the restaurants and sees how everything is going, his son said. He says hello to patrons and will still take a customer’s order or clear tables.
“It’s all about making people happy and having a good experience with good food and good drinks,” Eduardo Gonzalez said.
Don Dario’s serves traditional dishes inspired by Dario P. Gonzalez’s hometown of Bejucos, Mexico. All of the following are served with Spanish rice and beans on the side.
- Carnitas Especiales (Bejucos Style): Roasted pork, served with guacamole salad and pico de gallo
- Don Cabrito: Goat dipped in special spices and sauces
- Don Austin Tex Mex Chile Relleno: Roasted Anaheim pepper covered with egg, stuffed with beef, chicken or potatoes and monterrey jack cheese
- Chile Relleno Bejucos: Roasted style poblano pepper with ground beef, chicken or potatoes, monterrey cheese and rachero sauce
Don Dario’s serves large portions of the perennially popular Mexican dishes.
- A wide selection of breakfast tacos
- Migas: Eggs, beans, potatoes, tortillas and ranchero sauce
- Nachos compuestos: Nachos with beef or chicken, cheese, beans, guacamole, onions, tomatoes and jalapeños
- Chicken Mole: The Gonzalez family’s recipe of the chicken dish
- Burritos, taquitos and seafood
8801 S. I-35
- 8 a.m.–10 p.m. weekdays
- 8 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri. and Sat.