Papa Juan Stefano’s

The Child hates Mexican restaurants. I had high hopes this would fix that problem. Papa Juan Stefano’s serves both Mexican AND Italian! And some American food too.

The inside of Papa Juan Stefano’s looks like any other Mexican restaurant. A large bar was off to the right with some dining. The main dining room was to the left where we were seated at a large string of 4 tops pushed together. There were about six other tables occupied all partaking in alcoholic beverages. A manager informed us that the kitchen was behind and the wait on food was 45-50 minutes. Well that explained the long faces and margaritas. Oh well, as long as there was chips and salsa. I can endure a 45 minute wait for food better than I can a 45 minute wait for a table, especially if I am warned in advance.

Chips and salsa arrived without too much delay. The chips were meh, thick yellow corn chips. A quick blast in the oven to serve them warm would have improved them. The salsa was nice and chunky with a lot of flavor. There was something off putting about it though. Too sweet? Almost as if they added sugar. It didn’t stop me from eating a whole basket of chips though. Our drinks took a little bit longer. Well more than a little bit but I was in a patient state of mind.

While we waited we perused the menu. Lots of interesting stuff worth trying. There was an extensive appetizer selection . The Mexican style potato skins and seafood rangoons looked intriguing. But since we knew there was a long wait for food and had chips and salsa we didn’t order an appetizer. We did order a bowl of white queso with chorizo to go with our chips.

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The Mexican side of the menu was pretty standard, a mix of tortilla wrapped entrées like burritos, enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, etc. The Italian side was predictably nearly all pasta dishes. I don’t like pasta. The Chicken Cordon Rouge looked like  an interesting take on the famous Swiss dish. And I was tempted to get the Italian Mac and Cheese with crab and bacon.

The American third of the menu was primarily all sandwiches, though they did have ribs, chicken tenders, broasted chicken and pizza. I was caught completely off guard but the Pablo Escobar burger. I’m not sure if it is ignorance or what but naming a sandwich after a Columbian cartel drug lord is certainly poor taste.

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The Wife ordered chicken fajitas. Of note, all dinners include two sides. She chose the Asada Potatoes and Vermicelli. Her favorite food, beans, is off limits because she is highly allergic to them. Poor thing, she only discovered this allergy shortly after The Child was born. She’s eaten beans her whole life. When her food finally arrived it was no different than any other Mexican restaurant’s chicken fajitas. She said it was really good. The Wife said, “I hate the potatoes. You can have them if you want.” Wow, that’s a strong statement. She had a bite or two of the vermicelli but said she was too full to eat anymore than that. She did say it was good.

The Child ordered the kid’s spaghetti. It comes with a bread stick, no other sides. The portion size was huge for a kid’s meal. Easily an adult portion at any other restaurant. She could only eat half of it. The Child was THRILLED to be able to get spaghetti at a Mexican restaurant so we may have a big hit on our hands here. Hopefully just more timely service next time.

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I ordered the Green Chili Pork Enchilada. I love tomatillo salsa. especially with pork. I do not like enchiladas preferring burritos because I prefer flour tortillas to corn tortillas. But the menu said flour tortillas right in the description! For sides I asked for the Asada Potatoes and the Mixed Vegetables. I did not care for the potatoes either. I ate most of the potatoes and left the cooked pico de gallo behind. The vegetables were smothered in cheese! Flashback to childhood when my parents would serve broccoli and cauliflower covered in cheese, the only way I would eat it. This was broccoli covered in cheese. Well, nacho cheese sauce. It was mostly good though the cheese had a sweetness to it that I didn’t care for. Good ol’ Cheez Wiz would have been better. The enchilada was good but again too sweet, sweeter than any green salsa I’ve ever had. I had a sweetness issue at this restaurant.

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Even though we were there entirely too long I think we will give Juan Stefano’s another try. It may be the perfect place for when The Wife needs a Mexican fix and The Child is resistant.




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