Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Papa Joe's (Westminster, MD)

It has come to my attention that, despite having lived in Westminster for almost a year and a half, I have yet to review my favorite restaurant here! This must be remedied, especially since I'm home from work today with some yucky feverish achy illness and have nothing to do but write restaurant reviews, catch up on lesson planning, and watch back episodes of "Glee".

In a town where almost every restaurant features an practically-interchangeable menu of traditional American fare that one would expect from a small rural area, Papa Joe's is an anomaly. This little Mexican restaurant faces the back entrance of Westminster's historic Main Street, fairly well-hidden unless you're coming through the back parking lot. Noah and I happened upon it last year when we were looking at Westminster apartments, and though we didn't expect it to be any good, we were tired and hungry and decided to take our chances.

Luckily, Papa Joe's is a pleasant surprise! Apart from lettuce and sour cream-laden American tacos and the like, Papa Joe's does a nice variety of traditional Mexican standards. Their Mexican-style tacos, with just meat, cilantro, and onion, are a standby order for me. I also tend to order their tortas, particularly the egg and chorizo laden down with jalapenos and avocado and all manner of other goodies. It's hard to even eat the thing without bits of everything falling down on the table (and, in the winter, down your sleeves--my least favorite thing about long-sleeved shirts).

The real time to go to Papa Joe's, however, is on the weekend when they have off-menu weekend specials. Here's where the real traditional food comes out, like pozole and menudo and more authentic tostadas than the ones featured on their regular menu. Here's an example of some tostadas we had over the summer:

Although I don't see nearly enough people ordering the more authentic dishes, the restaurant is extremely popular and frequently has a wait, especially on weekends. The real test of its excellence? Noah currently lives in Jackson Heights, the hotbed of traditional Latin American food in Queens, and he still looks forward to going to Papa Joe's when he comes here. What higher praise could you ask for?

Papa Joe's
27 E. Main St. (in rear municipal parking lot)
Westminster, MD 21157
Mon.-Thurs. 11am-10pm
Fri. and Sat. 11am-11pm

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