Sure, the flash and gleam of big chrome wheels are major attractions at Victor’s Tires & Restaurant in Salt Lake City. Yep, you read correctly: Tires and Restaurant. Victor’s is a humble, hospitable place run by Victor Galindo and his wife, Elvia. Years ago, the two started out serving chips and homemade salsa to customers waiting for tire work and ended up putting in a kitchen serving a full-blown menu of Mexican standards.
By the looks of things on a recent Sunday afternoon, lots of happy folks are regulars at the little tire shop with the big menu. Maybe that’s because slow-simmered pozole and menudo are Saturday and Sunday specials. At $7.50 for a large bowl with a side of bona fide homemade tortillas, it’s one of the best bargains in town.
If you’re on a budget and craving something beyond good taco cart fare, start with a mango or water melon agua fresca and dive on in. Tamales are a specialty and Victor’s offers a dozen variations. I can definitely see pre-ordering a few dozen for a party. In particular, I’m hooked on the pork with green salsa tamales ($1.25 per or $12 a dozen). With just the right proportion of shredded pork and green salsa, the perfectly steamed morsel still benefits from spoonfuls of tomatillo salsa from the condiment bar. And we’re talking fresh salsa with dimension, resonating on the palate, nudging you to add more with each bite. The chile relleno plate with beans, rice and salad isn’t exactly lo último, but at $5.50 and with plenty of cheese and two tortillas, it made my dining partner quite happy. A chicken quesadilla arrived stuffed with tasty grilled chicken, and that made all the difference. Next time (and there will be many): chiva (goat) barbacoa.
VICTOR’S TIRES & RESTAURANT
1406 S. 700 West