UPDATE 26 Feb. 2010: Javier's has closed.
Javier’s Mexican Restaurant
100 East 8th Street
Situated across from the Main Library at the corner of Eighth and Walnut, Javier’s is another downtown restaurant only open during the work week, which is a real shame for downtowners and library patrons who crave authentic Mexican fare outside the 7 a.m.-4 p.m. operating hours.
Mexican restaurants can be hit or miss for vegetarians, because it’s nearly impossible to know beforehand if there is lard in the beans or how the rice has been prepared, but this is one Mexican restaurant where vegetarians may rest easy, knowing that their meal isn’t going to repeat on them the rest of the day or make them sick. Javier’s beans and rice are vegetarian.
The restaurant is a real success story. Javier Villaneuva originally hung out his shingle in a tiny little space on East Court Street, serving up delicious, authentic dishes that were wildly popular amongst the lunchtime crowd. So popular, in fact, that it was nearly impossible to get a table, and trying to place or pick up an order was mildly chaotic. Javier had little choice but to expand to his current location.
It can still be a little chaotic – you order in one line and pick up in another - and the queue still snakes back to the door, but at least now there is ample room to sit back and enjoy your meal without patrons constantly bumping your chair as they wait their turn at the counter.
Javier’s offers a variety of vegetarian options and all of them are worth trying. There are nachos, of course, and they do a vegetarian taco filled with rice and beans. There’s a mushroom quesadilla with your choice of veggies and toppings, a rice and black bean-filled burrito smothered in toppings, a kick-ass vegetarian black bean soup, and Plato Mexicana Vegetariano, a rice and black bean dish topped with your choice of mixed vegetables, cheese, sour cream and salsa. All are incredibly fresh and filling - the restaurant doesn’t skimp on the helpings - and everything on the menu is $6.50 or less.
There are several daily specials, and vegetarians should take note that Tuesday’s special is a really scrumptious Vegetales en Salsa de Guajillo, oven-roasted vegetables simmered in guajillo pepper sauce and wrapped in a 12” flour tortilla with shredded lettuce and sour cream. So good, and so filling! Javier’s really goes above and beyond for the vegetarian diner – a welcome change in a city nicknamed Porkopolis.