El Chaparral is Helotes 

House call

 MJ: The top-shelf margarita with Cazadores was smooth and potent. The real test for a bar is how low they set the “bar” for their house version. It was sweet but better than I thought. I didn’t mind sharing. Or is that another way of saying I drank both of them?

MLH: I don’t have much to say here except that the combination of both merged into a truth serum, which was amusing.

Atmosphere (and Children of the Corn)

MJ: Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd. At some point something had to initiate The Chap’s popularity. I can only wonder what it was. And what happened to all the taxidermy on the walls?

MLH: El Chaparral has been genuinely welcoming for both new (“Mulchies”) and old (“children of the corn”) Helotesians. I do miss the deer heads. The Helotes Country Club (“Lester’s”) probably has them now. I bet there is a word in German for this particular allure of elegiac entropy.

Main course

MJ: The menu had way too many enchilada options, as well as something random like chicken milanesa. The mole enchiladas were better than I expected: mild, not overly sharp. I think I see a trend. It’s like they’re ahead in the polls and don’t want to do something to lose their lead.

 MLH: OK, Mr. self-flagellating macrobiotic during the week, one can never have too many enchilada options. I judged the milanesa to be a suitable foil to the mole enchiladas. Dryness made the avocado-topped milanesa surprisingly second-rate, but the waiter eagerly brought us fresh limes to make it pleasant. The mole enchiladas, if you stuck with them, panned out. The portions are large, fortifiably (is this a word?) rich and dreamlike.

Final thoughts

MJ: The Chap’s a fun place, and the infamous refried beans are rich like chocolate. However, unless I was living in Helotes or on the way to horse racing at Bandera, I don’t see myself back here again any time soon.

MLH: Look at it like a Tex-Mex mom-and-pop Luby’s (I’m going to get shot, but I hope this translates). This is a place to top off a weekend visit or to reliably celebrate one of life’s milestones. I guess it wouldn’t appeal to people from Alamo Whites, where you have your overpriced Chain Quarry. I’ll be back with my family, which means you will, too. The lard-infused refried beans beckon us.


Order Up

El Chaparral
15103 Bandera
(210) 695-8302

The Skinny A mom-and-pop Tex-Mex Luby’s where you can reliably celebrate life’s milestones with friends and family

Don’t Miss The refried beans and top-shelf margaritas

11am-10pm Mon-Fri
8am-10pm Sat
8am-9pm Sun

Prices Entrées: $9-15, Margaritas: $6-9



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