Franklin, Tennessee is not exactly known for having the best Mexican food in the country, much less the state. But man, do the folks here love it.
Since moving to town, I’ve been inaugurated at all the local Mexican joints, and have tried margaritas at most, too.
With National Margarita Day coming up on February 22, I thought it would be a fitting time to search for the best marg in town.
The boundaries: Franklin only, to make it easier on your judge. There are so many Mexican restaurants in this town alone, I wasn’t about to add Brentwood, Spring Hill or Nashville to the mix.
The rules: House margaritas only. It seemed unfair to test one restaurant’s supreme marg against another’s pineapple jalepeno.
The rankings: We’re using the chili pepper. One chili pepper is a terrible margarita: too sweet and artificial, with bad tasting tequila. Five chili peppers is exactly what it looks like: a marg that’s so good, it’s on fire!
I would happily give them five chili peppers for the food (try the hot chicken taco), but the margaritas left much to be desired. The bite of bottom-shelf tequila coupled with the sting of browning limes was enough for me to ask for a different drink. Alas, the spicy pineapple jalepeno margarita tasted more of coconut rum than a margarita.
Margaritas are supposed to be $5 during happy hour, but our waiter said the happy hour special I’d been told about when writing a roundup in the summer was no longer in effect. Ask about the drink specials when you make a reservation.
I’d be remiss if I missed my old neighborhood haunt. I chose to go to Tito’s over Pueblo Real (they have the same owners) because I assumed the margaritas would be standardized by the restaurant group.
It was a good margarita, but, for all intents and purposes, forgettable. It did taste fairly strong with an overpowering sweetness.
You can get $4 house margaritas and $5.50 gold margaritas from 3 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, as well as $4 house margaritas on Thursdays.
Though this longstanding, nonfussy joint off Royal Oaks may not have the best margarita in town, they just might boast the best fajitas. You’ll need a to-go box for the fresh heap of veggies and meat!
On a midweek evening, I sampled the house margarita, which comes in a plastic marg glass. It’s especially lime-y, which I don’t mind, but almost tastes like limeade powder.
The margarita here has a pretty good, fresh flavor, with a noticeable kick from the tequila. Enjoy the laid-back environment and try the Korean cauliflower taco if you’re feeling adventurous (it’s my go-to), or the old school for a classic. Happy hour is from 3-6 p.m. on weekdays, and you can get $2 off the normally $7 house margarita.
Ding Ding Ding, we have a winner!
When I came into Chuy’s towards the end of my search, I was nearing exhaustion. I can only drink so many sugary tequila drinks in a week and enjoy it. But when the first sip of liquid gold hit my lips, I knew I’d found a winner. The bartender told me they use real lime juice and craft their own simple syrup, which explains why this drink stands out from the others I’d tried as fresh and tasty, without an artificial flavor.
Their happy hour drink specials are Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.; you can get a fully-loaded nacho car for free, house ritas for $4.95, and grande house ritas for $7.95 during that time frame.
And on National Margarita Day, they’re the only restaurant I could find advertising a drink special, with $1 off their skinny ritas, and $1 floaters. A regular price house marg will run you $8.23 after tax.