First Look: Cabana Grill, Snellville

On April 14, Fiesta Restaurant Group, which owns, operates and franchises Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana, debuted its newest concept, Cabana Grill, in Snellville. The fast-casual restaurant with limited table service touts affordable Mexican food made from scratch with fresh ingredients.

The look: Located in the Lowe’s shopping center on Scenic Highway, the contemporary free-standing building features an open kitchen appointed with a flame grill and tortilla-making station. Look for a salsa bar in the main dining room and additional seating on covered and outdoor patios.

The scene: Well after lunch on a recent Friday afternoon, the line to the counter stretched to the front door, and the dining room and patios were crowded, as guests tripped between tables and the salsa bar, and busy servers fetched and delivered orders. “It’s been this way every time I’ve been here,” one woman at the back of the line remarked, “and I’ve been here four times so far.”

The food: From chips and dips ($1.99-$2.49) and nachos ($4.79-$7.29) to tacos ($2.49-$2.79) and burritos ($5.49-$6.49), the menu is a familiar mix of Tex-Mex favorites. Most offerings are available with a choice of four different fillings — steak or chicken fajitas, pork carnitas or shrimp tampico. Steak “street tacos” ($4.99) are served three to an order on soft corn tortillas with cilantro, onions and lime wedges. Among the few meatless menu items are cheese quesadillas and a black bean taco.

The drinks: Beyond fountain drinks and iced tea ($1.79/$1.99), there’s a small selection of bottled domestic beer ($3), such as Budweiser, and Mexican imports ($3.75), such as Dos Equis XX Amber and Corona Light. Margaritas are served in small ($4) or large ($5) sizes or by the pitcher ($14.99). But the daily special 10-ounce margarita is $1.50 from 4-7 p.m. every day.

The extras: Drive-through service is available 11 a.m.-11 p.m. every day. “Fiesta Meals To Go” ($12.99-$24.99) feed two or four with a choice of meat, rice and beans, tortillas and toppings.

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