A Margarita-fueled Melting Pot 

Chacho’s & Chalucci’s
8614 Perrin-Beitel
Margaritas: $4.49
platinum, $4.99 top shelf
Chacho’s & Chalucci’s. Yes, I’m referring to the mega tacomart on Perrin-Beitel just north of 410. Some may say this isn’t really a bar; it’s a restaurant. If that were true then why is everyone drunk? Though they mass produce Mexican food in a fashion inspired by the Ford assembly-line technique, it is alcohol that defines C&C’s and gives it its raison d’etre.

There are so many good things to write about this enormous place — the skyscraping children’s playground that  suggests a wholly different daytime family atmosphere, the after-hours shopping-mall-picnic-court atmosphere, the mysterious Chalucci whose Italian influence never materialized (as in, what happened to the pizza bar we were promised?) and, of course, the legions of workers drifting from distant corner to distant corner in various states of activity.

The place has a generally benevolent crowd mentality. People intersect constantly, and in various states of inebriation, and often with plates filled up to five, six, and seven inches deep with nachos. All of this may sound like snide commentary, but because Chacho’s & Chalucci’s serves such a basic function there is nothing to complain about.

Now, as for the bar itself, yes, there are several shelves behind the counter bearing a variety of liquors, but I’ve never seen anyone order anything other than a cold bottle of beer or a margarita. Going to Chacho’s & Chalucci’s to test the bartender’s adroitness at making an Apple Martini, or even something simple like a vodka & tonic, makes very little sense. You order a margarita, perhaps top shelf if you’re feeling fancy; anything else goes against good horse sense.

The bartender is not the guy or gal in whom you’re going to confide that your wife just left you for the electrician. Such a confession would be met with a detached, existential stare; the bartender has made so many margaritas that it’s become second nature. I can just sense the repeated actions creating their own neuro-muscular memory. To do something that breaks this pattern invites ridicule and scorn from the people in line behind you. Get your margarita as quickly as possible and return to your seat to enjoy the show, because clearly there is a show going on. Early 20-somethings are all over this place text messaging, exchanging stares and numbers.

Chacho’s & Chalucci’s isn’t a melting pot in any real sense, but this is one of the few places in the city I can think of (other than my school, St. Philip’s) where you can find large numbers of anglos, blacks, and Latinos all together in the same place. I’m not saying C&C’s is making strides in improving race relations, but if you can put people together with a common purpose (getting hammered at an affordable price), then yes, why can’t we all get along?



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