On Thursday, May 19, 2016 I had dinner at the Del Rio Mexican Restaurant at 356 Fairfax Pike, east of Stephens City, Virginia, on Route 277. It is located in an older shopping center with a large Food Lion anchor store, which originally had a Marshall’s Department Store, still vacant.
Hours are Monday-Thursday, 11:00 AM-11:00 PM; Friday & Saturday, 11:00 AM-1:00 AM; Sunday, 12:00 Noon-11:00 PM. The phone number is (540) 868-0111, and carry out service is available.
A large concrete patio along the front of the restaurant has a black wrought iron fence, four metal tables and a metal bench, and was not occupied at that hour. The front entry has no vestibule, but opens into a small cross hall affording some protection against drafts. There are two rooms; the bar room is on your left, and the dining room on the right was my objective.
Seating here is by a couple of tables for two along the window in front, tables for four along the right and left walls, tables for two down the center, and a large table seating eight across the rear. This was the only occupied table, and had a mixed group quietly conducting a meeting.
The dining room is well lighted; the side walls are decorated with stylized pictures of Mexican scenes, instead of the original serapes, sombreros, and maracas remembered from my previous visit.
The floor has large, light-colored squares and the ceiling has dark acoustic tile. There was no TV screen, and the only music I heard seeped in from the bar area, along with typical bar conversational noises.
The eight-page menu includes Appetizers; Brunch and Lunch, both served from 11:00 AM-3:00 PM; Burritos & Enchiladas; Chimichangas, Flautas & Quesadillas; Fajitas & Parrillada, House Specialties, Combination Dinners, Vegetarian Dinners, Side Orders, Chicken Favorites, Salads, Kid’s Meals, and Beverages. The latter do not include Cokes bottled in Mexico.
My server was Wendy, who immediately brought me the traditional corn chips and salsa while I looked over the menu. I chose from House Specialties, ordering Cochinita Pibil, marinated pork topped with green tomatillo sauce and cheese sauce, served with lettuce, guacamole, tomato, rice, refried beans, and a choice of corn or flour tortillas.
The order came quickly, before I was finished with the chips and salsa, and was served on a large oval heated platter. My three corn tortillas were folded and wrapped in heavy foil, and quite hot.
The food was very good, and the only reason I wouldn’t order this on my next visit is that there are so many other choices to try. The serving was large enough that needed a go-box to take somewhat more than half of it home.
I had dined here more than five years ago, and found that it is now under new management. The dining room has recently been completely redecorated, and a new menu adopted with a wider range of selections and slightly higher prices. The Del Rio is very definitely on my list of keepers.
I surveyed the well-populated bar area as I was leaving. High rise tables and chairs are along the left and back walls, in the center, and up front. The bar itself is along the right wall with perhaps eight seats.
There are four TV screens; one each on the left and back wall, and two behind the bar. A wall-mounted electronic juke box on the left wall was playing and contributing to the rather high general noise level because of the number of people.
Average Mexican restaurant. Nothing fancy here. Ok food and service.