Story by Katrice Williams • Photos by Shelia Scott
El Real Mexican Restaurant has been a popular presence in Effingham for a long time now. Actually, it will celebrate its 17year anniversary on November 1st, and co-owners Salvador and Javier Figueroa could not be prouder. The two brothers, natives of Mexico, both wanted to pursue a career in the restaurant industry for some time prior to opening El Real, as they had a variety of experience in the field. Salvador admits that he “always wanted a restaurant” while Javier explains that he “learned everything” about the business while being employed at other establishments. Hence, the two decided to combine their various talents and resources in order to open their own restaurant in 2002. Since then, El Real has been known for its quality service, delectable food and welcoming, family-oriented atmosphere. Salvador and Javier know who the real assets are, as they sincerely feel that the restaurant’s success is largely due to the phenomenal team at El Real. “We have an awesome team. Everybody that works here treats the business like it’s theirs. They treat the customers well,” Salvador stated. That said, the El Real team wants customers to feel like family from the moment they enter the door until the time they exit, so the brothers have long strived to establish a warm, homey and friendly environment for all their customers. They both feel that having that overall type of atmosphere, along with providing superb customer service, “makes the difference,” consistently differentiating the restaurant from a host of others. The great food has certainly made a lasting mark over the years, and the brothers are proud that they have never sought to compromise the authenticity or overall quality of all their dishes. Salvador and Javier know that such
important differences truly distinguish El Real from other Mexican restaurants, both locally and abroad. Interestingly enough, every recipe is bona fide right “down to the rice and beans.” “Others have similarities, but we’re more authentic,” Javier said. Other than a few additions, the menu has not changed very much over the years. The brothers know what their customers really seem to like and want to make sure that those items are continuously offered to their delight. “We have incorporated a few new dishes over the years, but we try to keep the same consistency,” Salvador mentioned. While offering a variety of enchiladas, burritos, chimichangas, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, dips, quesos, grilled platters, soups, salads and even some delicious desserts, the extensive menu makes it difficult for even the pickiest of eaters to leave unsatisfied. There should be something for almost anyone to enjoy—something flavorful, that is. A few fan favorites include: Fajita Real Platter, a tender portion of “chicken or beef, either mild or spicy, covered with sautéed mushrooms, onions, peppers, cilantro and special El Real Sauce,” Pechuga Real Platter, “a grilled chicken breast filled with shrimp, spinach and white cheese all topped with vegetables sautéed in butter, wine and garlic sauce,” Pescado Real Platter, “grilled fish topped with a creamy shrimp and mushroom sauce,” and Fajita Avocado (a real hit), “a lightly breaded and deep fried avocado stuffed with fajita beef or chicken and cheese” alongside an enchilada or taco.
Other menu items include: Enchilada Verdes, “a chicken breast topped with tomatillo and cilantro sauce, white cheese and sour cream (enchiladas are served with Mexican rice and refried beans),” Burrito Poblano, “a chicken fajita burrito
topped with cheese dip, poblano pepper sauce with creamy mushrooms and onions (burritos include beans inside and are topped with cheese and beef gravy, all served with rice and sour cream),” Ranchero Chicken Chimichanga, made with well-seasoned Ranchero Chicken and select veggie blends “(chimichangas are served with rice, refried beans and sour cream),” El Real Plate, which includes a “soft beef or chicken taco, beef enchilada and chicken flauta (all plates are served with Mexican rice, refried beans, lettuce and tomatoes)” and Los Diablos Platter, which includes “6 jumbo grilled shrimp wrapped with bacon and jalapenos (platters normally include rice and Pico de Gallo).” Customers also have a variety of a la carte items and side orders to choose from. In addition to a variety of beverages, if there is a real sweet tooth that needs to be satisfied, El Real offers some scrumptious treats, including: “fried ice-cream, cheesecake, flan and sopapillas.” Salvador and Javier both share the same professional goal going forward: to continue to provide high levels of customer satisfaction and service. “I want to try to be the best and be successful at giving 100% to my customers,” Salvador asserted. The brothers aspire to one day obtain another more spacious establishment with the capacity to accommodate even more customers as their business continually grows. Meanwhile, the two are certainly content with the direction their business is heading and will continue to offer customers a place to visit where great food and family come together.
El Real Mexican Restaurant
105 Wisenbacker Road Rincon, GA 31326
Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Lunch Specials Offered Daily 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.