June 10, 2010

El Sombrerito

By Eric Shangraw

July 13, 2010 Updated Jul 13, 2010 at 2:30 PM CDT

An East Peoria restaurant is offering made from scratch Mexican dishes.

"El Sombrerito" has has a local history dating back to 1982.

Eric Shangraw is trying the Super Smothered Burrito in this week's You Gotta Eat.

El Sombrerito is serving Mexican food at the intersection of Route 116 and 26 in East Peoria. The décor is colorful, the atmosphere friendly and, somewhat intimate. Not too big or small.

Jade Durdel's grandparents opened the original El Sombrerito location on Meadows Avenue in East Peoria in 1982.

"They were there everyday. They didn't hire anyone. They worked it. She worked the front. He worked the kitchen. And they were there and that's what people like about it," said Durdle the owner and operator.

"This is family owned and operated. The food is always good. It is always consistent. And it is always clean," said customer Linda Read.

I asked one customer why he thought he portions were perfect.

"Did you see the size of the thing? I think he got a picture of me eating it. You have to want to eat to eat that one," said customer Trent Luster with his empty burrito plate behind his beer.

Photographer Doug Smith and I ate outside in the Mexican like heat. Every customer gets complimentary chips and salsa. You can also request other sauces ranging from mild to spicy hot.

I started with the Tortilla Soup. It is a cheesy bean based soup. Nice flavor. But probably a a better choice on a cold day or consumed in air conditioning.

Doug had the burrito with beef, cheese, lettuce and beans. It was fresh. And Doug is not a huge Mexican fan. He has a delicate digestive system but quickly entered the clean plate club.

I had a small Super Smothered Burrito. Nothing tiny about it. Enchilada sauce, chili, cheese, onion, sour cream, lettuce and tomato. You can get each one of those ingredients in each bite. An obvious bonus.

I couldn't finish my burrito beast. But Doug convinced me to share in a slice of Margarita Pie. It features a light creamy filling with alcohol. You can taste the Tequila. The crushed pretzel crust it floats on is loaded with melted butter and brown sugar. It is outstanding desert with a bite.

Our bill with drinks: $24.55 plus tip. El Sambrerito lives up to its local reputation.

El Sombrerito is on West Spring Creek Road is East Peoria. They're open six days a week for lunch and dinner. Closed on Sundays.

El Sombrerito
111 W. Spring Creek Rd.
East Peoria

Monday-Thursday 11am-8:30pm
Friday-Saturday 11am-9:30pm
Closed Sunday


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