385 S 2nd St ( )
Memphis, TN 38103-4324
385 S 2nd St ( )
Memphis, TN 38103-4324
May 5, 20093.0
A couple co-workers suggested we go here for lunch one day and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve been back several times.
The Happy Mexican is located in the (south) downtown area right near where a revitalization effort came to a halt in 2007-2008 with the declining economy. In short: it’s right next to a very bad part of town. Definitely lock up your car and stow your valuables out of sight. Parking is street-side, but there is a vacant lot next door where many people park off-street. If you park off-street, the lot is grass/dirt/mud/gravel and not at all “dress shoes” friendly. There’s some ruts in the lot, so be careful if it rained recently and you have just two-wheel drive: you might get stuck.
Other reviewers have mentioned the long wait times at lunch, and I can attest that it does get busy around noon. Generally I go there between 11:00-11:30am—before the rush—and I’ve always been immediately seated. In under 5 minutes, we’ll have drinks, chips and salsa (the salsa is good), and a waiter taking our orders. So go early if at all possible.
The restaurant is not extremely well lit, but it looks cleaner than most other Mexican restaurants in town. There’s a large selection of items on the menu and a good lunch menu: prices are quite reasonable. The food has been consistent each time I’ve visited.
If you’re downtown around lunch time and in the mood for a sit-down Mexican meal, the Happy Mexican is probably your best bet for escaping at under $10/person.
I had a cactus quesadilla because I’d never had one before! The cactus had the texture of an overcooked squash and tasted like overcooked squash with a faint hint of something almost citrus-like. I didn’t like the cactus part, but ignoring that, the rest of the quesadilla was tasty—a good balance of chicken and cheeses with ample toppings off to the sides to mix in. And even though I didn’t like the cactus, this is the first Mexican restaurant in Memphis that I’ve seen been to that was bold enough to put it on the menu.
I’m a nachos junkie, and I think R. P. Tracks probably has the best nachos in Memphis. That said, The Happy Mexican’s nachos are good—better than average—but nothing to write home about. Even though the nachos are not of “wow!” quality, there’s TONS of it on a plate. Billed as an appetizer, it’s easily a meal for two (or one super-hungry person). I managed to eat an entire plate once and felt like a bloated tick the rest of the day—I skipped dinner. Happy Mexican’s nachos have three stars (above average) for taste, with five stars (excellent) for value, averaging out to four stars (good) overall.
April 6, 20094.0
We found this place when coworkers took us there. By far one of the best cheap Mexican places around and now one of my favorites! They offer a pretty typical Mexican menu, with the usuals – enchiladas, burritoes, tacos, etc. The meats are well-seasoned, the rice and beans pretty typical. Unlike other places, however, it doesn’t feel like they just slopped food on the plate. I can tell what everything is on mine!
Service is average. Slow on some days, however, so be prepared to spend about 15-20 minutes more than expected, especially during busy hours. And check your order very quickly while the waiter is there, because if anything is wrong, it might be 10 minutes before you can flag another waiter down!
They’re pretty family-friendly as well. When I came in with a cranky toddler and had to leave before my meal was even served, they were very nice to us (rather than looking annoyed) and wrapped up our food and gave me a drink to-go.
I had chicken enchiladas and beef enchiladas on their lunch “Choose 2” menu. The chicken was surprisingly well-seasoned, rather than tasting boiled and salted. The beef was also very good. The corn tortillas were not crumbly or soggy. Definitely a favorite!
October 5, 20084.0
We stumbled upon The Happy Mexican when we were brand new to Memphis, driving around half lost and hungry as heck. We saw the bright sign from down the street and decided to see whether or not it was a restaurant.
We love Mexican food, and although this place isn’t much to look at from the outside, we were very pleasantly surprised at the atmosphere, friendly service, and fantastic food we found inside.
We were tired and hungry, and this place was perfect. We started with a couple margaritas, which range in size from normal to VERY big (we staid in the middle). The chps and salsa were quite tasty. Although the salsa was a little smokier than my fiancee tends to like, it still tasted very fresh.
I had a sampler plate that I believe included a taco, burrito, and chili relleno. All very fresh and very authentic. My fiancee had a taquito platter that she thought was fantastic. The guacamole lacked a little freshness and was a bit sweet, but the refried beans and rice were as good as we’ve had at most other Mexican restaurants.
We left full and very pleased that we’d found our new local joint to satisfy our cravings for Mexican food.
July 8, 20121.0
TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY AND I TURNED 32. I DECIDED TO GO TO HAPPY MEXICAN AND THERE WERE 9 PEOPLE IN MY PARTY. THE WAITRESS DID NOT BRING NAPKINS, THEY DID NOT SING HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIKE I WANTED THEM TO AND THEY DID NOT BRING ME THE SHOT THAT I WANTED. ONE OF THE PARTIES DID HAVE A LITTLE TOO MUCH TO DRINK AND SHE RAISED HER DRINK AND WE HAD TO BEG FOR SOMEONE TO CLEAN IT UP. MY SON WHO IS MENTALLY DISABLED AND ALSO DEVELOPMENTALLY DELAYED MADE A MISTAKE AND RAISED HIS WATER AND ONE OF THE MEN CAME OVER AND SNATCHED UP OUR PITCHERS OF MARGARITAS AND THREW THEM AWAY. WE SPENT $48 ON THEM. THE NEXT THING HE DID WAS THREW AWAY ALL OF OUR DRINKS AND WE WANTED A TO GO CUP. THEN THEY CHARGED US TIPS ON OUR TICKETS AND ALSO MADE US PAY FOR THEM EVEN THOUGH THE WAITRESS WOULD NOT BRING US NAPKINS. THE MANAGER DID NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. WHILE PICKING UP MY CAKE THAT WAS LEFT OVER ONE OF THE PARTIES RAISED A DRINK (THEY WERE REALLY DRUNK) AND I WAS BLAMED FOR IT. THEY REFUSED TO GIVE MY ID AND PREPAID CREDIT CARD BACK. THEN WHEN ONE OF THE GUESTS WANTED A TOGO CUP SHE WAS REFUSED THIS. THIS NIGHT WAS AWFUL. THIS WAS THE WORST BIRTHDAY YET. I ACTUALLY WENT HOME AND CRIED. I TRIED CALLING UP THERE TO TALK TO A MANAGR AND WHEN I TALKED TO THEM THEY HUNG UP IN MY FACE.I WILL NEVER EAT THERE AGAIN. THIS HAS BEEN THE WORST BIRTHDAY EVER.
WE ALL WAS FORCED TO TIP
very bland and they brought the wrong food out to everyone
September 28, 20101.0
Yesterday was my birthday. I decided to go to the Happy Mexican to celebrate. They have a policy that’s clearly posted stating that parties of 6 or more require someone to surrender a credit card and id for them to hold. We were ok with that but tHERE WERE ONLY 5 OF US. They would not take our drink order unless someone gave them a credit card and id. Coincidentally, there was a family of 6 seated next to us and they didn’t ask them for anything. We didn’t get to try the food because we left since they refused to serve us.
June 7, 20105.0
Great place to start your weekend activities or your evening. Get there early or else you will be waiting for a little while. Great food and great staff. the food is good as well.
chunks of grilled chicken mixed in a bed of vegetables with rice and beans.
These dishes from the The Happy Mexican menu are contributed by Menuism users directly, as part of a restaurant review, or as part of an image upload.