First Look: Dos Amigos Cantina, Smyrna

Chef Paul Albrecht is an iconic figure in Atlanta dining history, going back to the opening of Pano’s and Paul’s in 1979.

More recently, Albrecht settled into his namesake restaurant, Paul’s, in Peachtree Hills and partnered with his son, Patrick, to open several concepts in the Smyrna-Vinings area, including Social and Vinings Fish Company.

Dos Amigos Cantina, the latest venture from Albrecht’s Great Food Group Inc., may be the most surprising yet. It’s a smooth Tex-Mex restaurant that resembles a big box chain.

The look: Situated in a former Folks location on Spring Road, the freestanding brick building’s facade has been redecorated with ornamental Texas stars, bright trim and a large neon sign over the front door. Inside, the spacious bar and dining areas feature big screen TVs and whimsical Mexican art, accented by a mosaic of the Dos Amigos logo on the back wall.

The scene: One evening, a small happy hour crowd gathered at the bar, enjoying margaritas and free chips and salsa, along with the banter of the friendly bartender. But most of the tables and booths in dining room remained unoccupied, as lively Mexican music echoed through the empty space.

The menu: The offerings cover all the basic Tex-Mex food groups. Starters include chicken flautas with queso and tomatillo salsa ($7) and a variety of nachos ($7.50-$13.50). Hefty burritos ($7-$16) are rolled in 12-inch flour tortillas and filled with rice, refried beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa and lettuce, with options such as brisket and portabello mushroom. Entrees, including ancho chicken enchiladas ($12) and a tamale of the day ($10), are plated with rice and refried beans.

The drinks: Margaritas come in 16-ounce or 42-ounce sizes. The Texas ($7/$14) is mixed with Herradura Reposado, Royale Montaine, orange juice and fresh sour mix. There’s a small wine list, and the mostly Mexican bottled beer list also includes Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Terrapin Hopsecutioner ($5).

The extras: Look for live music some weekend nights and weekly drink specials such as $5 Margaritas on Mondays and $5 red sangria on Thursdays.

Dining out

Dos Amigos Cantina, Smyrna

11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays-Mondays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays.

Starters, $3-$18; soups and salads, $8-$14; tacos, quesadillas and burritos, $3-$16; entrees and fajitas, $10-$24.

2590 Spring Road SE, 678-608-4330,