By Julia Renick, culinary correspondent
At 5520 Hampton in south city St. Louis is a privately owned, more modern Tex-Mex restaurant named La Catrina. It is a go-to for myself, and other close friends these past few warmer months. Their main attraction is not only their food but the ambiance that is paired with a semi-chilly summer night.
Hampton is lined with various businesses. This includes shops such as Bayers Garden, Abigail's Gift Boutique, and Cousin Paul’s Tattoo Company. It doesn't stop at retail stores, there is an ample amount of restaurants as well. For instance, some of the well known ones are Salt + Smoke, Dado’s Cafe, and F&B’s Eatery.
Although most stores in South City show urbanized well-aged characteristics, La Catrina offers new and more vibrant qualities. This sets them apart from many of the surrounding businesses.
La Catrina’s inside dining and beautiful outdoor patio is covered in bright striking colors of reds, blues, yellows, and oranges to name a few amongst many others. The patio is closed in by a newly installed wooden barrier. Hampton is a busy street. This gives the feeling of separation and safety from the lively road on the other side.
La Catrina has not only left an impression on my friends and I but others in the South City Area as well! The popular restaurant is filled to maximum capacity most nights of the week. Although there is usually a 10-15 minute waiting period, the food that follows is definitely worth the time.
This one-of-a-kind business has reviews through Yelp, Facebook, Google, and even strategically placed testimonials on their website. Yelp has 4/5 stars, Facebook 4.7/5, and google 4.4 out of 5 stars. They all consist of great food, a great atmosphere, and fast service.
When I go out to a Mexican restaurant of any kind, I usually have a few standard orders that I live by. It is usually something along the lines of fajita nachos, generic chicken fajitas, a quesadilla, or shrimp tacos. When visiting La Catrina I chose chicken fajita nachos, without tomatoes. The absence of tomatoes is due to my own preference, not the quality of the restaurant's supply.
I can confidently say that this establishment went above and beyond on my order. Not only were my chips fresh, but my peppers, onions, chicken, and queso were hot as well. They efficiently took my friend’s and myorders, almost immediately after we were seated. They were prompt in making sure that our drinks were filled, as well as our individual salsa bowls never empty.
Ultimately, the dining experience I had here was one to be remembered. I have come back time and time again. It is not uncommon to go out for a meal frequently at one restaurant and it is not as good as the last visit. I have gladly never had a bad experience here, which is why I always go back. I’m excited to see what winter adaptations they will make!