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Living Life to the Fullest In Southwest Missouri

Habaneros Mexican Grill

Habaneros Mexican Grill

If it weren’t for its eye-catching exterior, painted chili pepper red, you might not notice the boxy, ordinary-looking building on the corner of 7th Street and Florida Avenue. But the fiery facade beckons with a hint of what’s inside: a fiesta of fresh flavors.

 

 

habaneros exterior

 

Habaneros Mexican Grill has breathed new life into this plain building – a former fast food restaurant – by decorating the interior with vibrantly colored piñatas and painting the walls the color of sunshine. With upbeat Mexican music playing through the speakers and lively chatter among the customers, it feels like a south-of-the-border party inside.

 

habaneros interior

 

Plus, Habaneros – which is family-owned and operated – is listed as one of the “10 Best Taco Joints in Missouri.” After reading that, I decided to give it a try.

I met my friend Carrie at Habaneros for lunch. The hostess handed us a multi-page menu that included fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, tortas (sandwiches), salads, pasta (yes, even pasta), and the house specials. To say the menu was extensive would be an understatement.

 

habaneros carrie (1)

Carrie patiently waiting for chips and dip while I snap her photo.

 

We munched on chips dipped in fresh salsa and guacamole while we perused the menu. Overwhelmed by the many options, I asked our waitress for recommendations. I was torn between the popular carne asada tacos and El Volcanito, a flour tortilla filled with chicken or steak, and topped with a creamy cheese sauce. Intrigued by its description, I ordered El Volcanito with chicken.

 

habaneros volanito

 

The stuffed tortilla was presented vertically rather than horizontally, and with the cheese sauce “exploding” from the top, it did look like a little volcano. My entree came with rice and beans, which were tasty, but El Volcanito was the star of the plate with fragrant cilantro, crunchy onions, and tender chicken. The ingredients were fresh and authentic, a combination that I always look for – yet don’t often find – when eating at Mexican restaurants.

 

habaneros tostadas

 

Carrie, who is vegan, ordered corn tostadas topped with lettuce, tomatoes, beans, and guacamole. She was happy to find something so tasty that still satisfied her dietary needs.

During our meal, we watched several groups of people sit down for lunch, and others come in to pick up orders to go. The place was bustling.

However, no one was partaking of drinks at the bar, which was understandable considering it was lunchtime on a weekday. I imagine the bar stools are occupied at dinnertime with people sipping margaritas and Mexican beer.

The prices at Habaneros are very reasonable: our lunch entrees only cost $5-7 each. It’s rare to find authentic, fresh-tasting food at such great prices. That’s something worth celebrating.

So point me toward the piñata and bring on the fiesta!

 

butterfly pic

 

Habaneros is located at 2526 E. 7th Street in Joplin; there is another location at 100 Lincoln Street in Carthage. Click here to visit Habaneros’ website.

 

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This article was commissioned by the Joplin CVB, however the opinions expressed are purely my own. The purpose of Joplin MO Life is to highlight all the best that our area has to offer, and when an article is written about a restaurant, business, attraction, or event, it is because I have had an enjoyable experience and want to share it with others.

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Living Life to The Fullest!

Joplin MO LifeI love seeking out new experiences and finding places off the beaten path. I started Joplin MO Life in August 2013 as a way to share my discoveries with others in the Joplin community so that they can learn about the resources that exist right in their own backyards.

I have worked in education and event planning, and have always loved to write. I hold a master's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor's degree in marketing from Tulane University.

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