Jesse Gall

Local Attraction: El Mesquite

In Local, Southern Living on June 7, 2011 at 8:13 pm

There are some things that tourists will never find. I love those things. I really do. They smell nice and they’re cleaner. Strangely, it is in these hidden places, these undiscovered attractions tucked in between the stacked cabins and neon lights, that the true nature of these cities can be found. These places show you what Sevierville, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge are really like.

For example, I’d never heard of a Mexican Buffet until I went to El Mesquite. When I first heard of the concept I instantly thought of chimichangas turning to bricks under overbearing heat lamps and the film that would need to be skimmed off the vat of white queso cheese that would inevitably be there. I thought of soupy guacamole and limp lettuce  and tomato mush passed off as pico de gallo and I cringed.

I can’t describe the level of personal shame associated with the discovery that  a Mexican Buffet might be your favorite Mexican restaurant in the area. I think I gained four pounds just writing that admission down. I can’t help it. The food was great and I’ve been back twice. Sue me, but each time the servers remember where we sat the previous time and took us to the same table again, smiling the whole time, as if to welcome us back.

That’s the thing about this part of the state. It’s amazing to make fun of but there is such a joy imbedded in the people here. Everyone is nice (as soon as you let them know you live here) and somehow they remember you, even if they haven’t seen you in awhile. There is a level of consideration here that is missing in every other city I’ve lived in. At times, there is such an undying sense of belonging and acceptance that it almost seems disingenuous. But perhaps that speaks more to my jaded expectations than the legitimacy of the benevolence here. It’s hard to say really.

Either way, check out the Mexican Buffet. It’s not CiCis Pizza (Fesces Pizza) or your average Chinese Buffet. It’s…like…actually good.

Until the end, the Mended Blend.

  1. I have often fantasized about the idea of a Mexican food buffet, but I have never actually seen/eaten as such a place. I think I know where we will be having at least one meal when I come to visit you. Speaking of…how does the first week of July sound? I know that’s the 4th of July, and I’m sure everything will be crazy busy there. But that’s really the best time for me.

    BTW, I am glad you are so happy in your new home! You are so blessed to have found so many wonderful things in life.

    MISS YOU!!

    • That sounds amazing! July 4th around here is the craziest and the most fun. Keiths bestie Lindsey is going to be here around that time so you might have to sleep in the big chair or we can make a comfy palette on the carpet! lol. I MISS YOU TOO!

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