We tried to get into the new Little Mexico on Charleston Ave. in Mattoon, IL on Friday evening, but there was a half hour wait. Too long for us. So we went back around 5PM tonight and had no problem getting a table. The decor in Little Mexico is Vegas-like in that it makes you feel like you’re sitting at an outdoor cafe in Mexico. There seem to be about twice as many waitstaff as needed, although when it gets really busy it may be necessary to have so many.

We received a basket of tortilla chips and two bottles of salsa within a minute of being seated. The salsa bottles are similar to salad dressing carafes and contain mild and spicy salsa. The salsa was different than most I have tasted, but they were both quite good. We also ordered a margarita each, but were disappointed with them. Don Sol makes far better ‘ritas.

The menu at Little Mexico is not as extensive as other Mexican places in the area, and we hoped that would translate in to better food; fewer things to concentrate on makes the remaining items of better quality, or so we thought. Sarah ordered the Green Chile Burrito plate and I ordered the Beef Chimichanga plate with an enchilada. Both meals came with a scoop (just like ice cream) of refried beans covered with a ground beef sauce. Sarah’s burrito was also covered with it. The only thing not covered with the sauce was the shredded lettuce which passed as salad. The lettuce came with Thousand Island dressing (no choice there), which was a bit out of place with Mexican food. One thing we could not find on Sarah’s plate was any trace of green chile. She got a burrito stuffed with finely ground beef and little else.  My chimi was fair, but the enchilada, which was covered in the missing green chile from Sarah’s meal, was tasteless. The taco on the side that came with my meal was passable, but nothing to get excited about. The 50 cent tacos at Gunner Bucs are better, for what it’s worth.

Our tab for the meal was relatively cheap, but it matched the meal. The $4 margaritas were overpriced. It’s a shame the owners didn’t spend less on decor and more on the kitchen staff. Don Sol is still sets the bar for Mexican in this area.