BY VEGAS FOOD NERD
A newly opened outpost of this highly coveted California-inspired Mexican grill that celebrates the flavors created by Great Grandma Bonilla from Fresnillo, Mexico is now open at the Palms Casino Resort right in front of Brenden Theaters. There was at one time a location of Chronic Tacos in Summerlin, yet now that location has been shuttered, making this the only Vegas location that is currently open for locals and visitors to visit. The founder of the brand is Randy Wyner, whose inspiration came from the Bonilla family’s backyard barbeques, sparking the concept that he later turned into a chain restaurant and all its offerings reinvented from the Bonilla family recipes.
“We only use the freshest ingredients and make our food from scratch everyday, the way Great Grandmother Bonilla did,” he said. Fast-forward to the here and now in Las Vegas and you will find twin founders (literally twin brother and sister team) Jennifer and Jonathan Lewis, who believed in Randy’s concept so wholeheartedly that they decided to open a Chronic of their very own. The twins were no strangers to the franchise game, Jennifer explained, “We actually have baby photos of each other in McDonald’s onesies,” having grown up in the family business with their parents who owned and ran all of the McDonald’s locations in Summerlin. Their parents retired this past year, but with the full support of their family, the twins decided to make a change for their future, selling 10 of their 20 golden arches locations to focus on a new venture with Chronic Tacos, and with a plan to build more locations around the Vegas market.
The two very graciously let a friend and I try the Chronic and its signature flavors. We trusted in the two owners and asked them to bring us a sampling of their different taco flavors. We tried the Carnitas, Al Pastor, Carne Asada, and the Grilled Shrimp Tacos. The cool part of Chronic is that they offer so many fresh toppings to their tacos that their freshness is the first part of the food that we noticed. Then Jennifer appeared, asking what we thought. Through mumbled mouthfuls, we responded that it was, “all just so tasty!” Then she added: “I know you are getting full, but I put a Mahi Mahi Taco in the fryer—I wanted you to try that, too.” Thankfully she did, because this might have been our favorite bite that we sampled: a rich, melt-in-your-mouth kind of thing. I will be going back for this again. If you want to get some Chronic that won’t get your car swerving, I’d suggest checking this place out before a good movie at Brendan Theaters.
BIG ERN’S BBQ
Good barbeque takes time, effort, and passion. And you will find that in this small, unassuming place located in Container Park here in DTLV. A chance encounter with the sometimes quirky yet charismatic leader, Zappos’ Tony Heish, led to this Los Angeles-bred pit master to open this BBQ restaurant that executes the meat in a way that would make you think that Ern is a Southern boy. The ribs are smoked and full of flavor. It’s a no-frills type of establishment: You need to get your own napkins and utensils, but the fun part is you get to pick from one of their many variations on BBQ sauce to get to the particular flavor or moisture level of their meat. Yes, they have some salads to choose from, but come on!! This is BBQ we are talking about—get the meat, briskets, hot links, and then load up on the mac and cheese and the baked beans. This is not the time to diet. This is the time to fill up on some stick-to-your-bones full-on greasy flavor. It is a paper plate/sticky napkin experience that will feed your soul and make you feel as though Johnny and June Cash might walk through the door at any moment. Container Park can be pretty sleepy sometimes, but I highly suggest you give some foot traffic to this place, where the founder’s passion is not only evident in his quotes and press releases, but in the food, as well. Now go eat something.
I have to close this article with a “Thank You to STRIPLV and the entire staff here.” It’s been a wild ride—crazy, stressful at times, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. Thank you guys! You’ve made my dream of eating and writing about it come true. Rock on!
vegasfoodnerd.com • Follow me at: @vegasfoodnerd