El Fogon Mexican Bar and Grill
of 1 reviews
39 W Jubal Early Dr, Winchester, VA - Map
On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, I had lunch at the El Fogon Mexican Grill and Bar, 39 West Jubal Early Drive, in Winchester, Virginia. The telephone number is (540) 450-5157.
Hours are Monday-Thursday, 11:00 AM- 9:00 PM; Friday & Saturday, 11:00 AM-10:00 PM; Sunday, 11:00 AM-8:00 PM. El Fogon has no Web site, but is on Facebook. Carryout service is available. It’s Winchester’s newest Mexican eatery.
El Fogon is in a strip center along the south side of Jubal Early, west of South Loudoun Street. The parking lot’s east access is from Loudoun Street, and the west access is from Jubal Early’s eastbound lane.
The restaurant has two entrances; the left one is for the dining room and has a vestibule with a dead potted palm. Two sidewalk tables with umbrellas offer al fresco dining. The right entrance is for the bar room, and has no vestibule. The two rooms are connected inside.
I used the dining room entrance, which is actually 37 West Jubal Early Drive, and has an area inside with a padded bench for waiting. A divider to your left defines a short passageway. Inside, booths are against the room’s walls and the divider, with tables in the center of the room.
An arched doorway on your right opens into the bar area, and smaller openings at eye height are decorative. The floor and ceiling were light colors.
Lighting was by hanging Tiffany lampshades with a single small bulb over each booth or table, and somewhat dim for reading the menu. Table cloths had colorful Serape patterns that were pleasing to the eye, and wall decorations were reminders of Mexico and the Southwest.
The girl who brought a bowl of tortilla chips with green and red sauce apparently didn’t understand me because when I asked her how long the restaurant had been opened, she disappeared. Wendy, from El Salvador, who became my server, said that it had been open for two weeks.
I had a Coca-Cola bottled in Mexico and made with sugar, along with a glass of ice and a straw, while I looked over the menu. I found the green sauce much too spicy for my taste, but the red sauce was just right. The little bowls for the sauces were so small that dipping was awkward.
The menu is four double-sided sheets in plastic folders bound together. The front cover lists drinks; the inside page’s categories include Para Empezar (Starters), Especialidades de la Casa, Fajitas, Enchiladas, Mariscos (Seafood), Antojitos (Typical Dishes), Tortas Mexicanas, Ensaladas (Salads), Burritos, Chimichangas, and Tacos.
The menu’s back had Extras (Side Orders), and Para Llevar a Casa (To Enjoy at Home). Handmade signs outside had listed two specials: Grilled Chicken with Salad, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Rice, Beans, and Tortillas; or a Burrito with Rice and Beans, with Choice of Chicken or Beef.
I decided on the Grilled Chicken Special, resolving to try a menu entrée on my next visit. While I was waiting for my order to come, I could hear Mexican music originating from the bar area, but it wasn’t too intrusive. I did not see a TV screen in the dining room.
My order came on a large oval ceramic platter, with fair-sized, thinly cut slices of chicken with grill marks, along with onions, the salad, guacamole on a lettuce leaf, pico de gallo, and sour cream.
A round ceramic platter held yellow rice and refried beans. Three hot folded tortillas were wrapped in foil on a small plate; I used them to make soft tacos with the beans and rice. I thought it was a good meal, and a bargain at the $8.99 price.
Before leaving El Fogon I checked out the bar room next door. The L-shaped bar has eight stools, with a large TV screen on the wall behind the bar. A couple of high-rise tables with chairs face the bar. The entry from the street leads into a much smaller space than the dining room.
The most recent occupant of 39 West Jubal Early had been Casa Maria, a Mexican Restaurant that I had visited only once, in June 2011. Before that, this space had been El Comal, another Mexican operation which I had visited only once in November of 2007. Neither of these restaurants had access to 37 West Jubal Early, which had housed two different businesses over the years.
A Google search showed that that an early occupant of 37 West Jubal Early was the Sweet Sunset Bakery & Deli, which I had never patronized. It was followed by Frosty Crumbs, a strictly bakery operation that I had also never visited.
Anyhow, El Fogon has opened up the wall between the two addresses to operate in its present configuration with a greater seating capacity than either El Comal or Casa Maria had available.
El Fogon’s menu looks as if could be a real competitor to the area’s other Hispanic restaurants. It’s too soon to give it a rating other than merely good, and additional visits are needed to see if it can become a keeper. I’ll certainly be back, perhaps with my daughter.