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Good News, San Antonio: Pollos Asados Los Norteños Is Still Great 

click to enlarge JESSICA ELIZARRARAS
  • Jessica Elizarraras

The wait times are longer at everyone's favorite pollos asados place, and with good reason.

ICYMI, Pollos Asados Los Norteños temporarily closed for seven months while trying to lessen their smoke footprint to the neighborhood. In order to meet regulations placed by the city of San Antonio and the state, Pollos now features a larger smokehouse with expensive new tech that minimizes the smoke's ferocity.

Thankfully, that's where the changes stop.

It's always worrisome when a restaurant closes only to reopen later, in a different location, with a different staff, but the seven months seem to have reinvigorated the space that now seems brighter and roomier somehow.

Is it normal to feel verklempt when a restaurant you have no stake in reopens? As someone who spent her 31st birthday at Pollos Asados Los Norteños, I gave the restaurant a handful of days before venturing to Rigsby during "off-hours," i.e. after usual lunch times. I didn't mind the estimated wait (30 minutes) or the actual wait (20 minutes) it took to get inside the restaurant. I must note that once we were sat, the servers, all in matching black polos, were as friendly and efficient as ever.

Our order (a whole pollo, beans, Norteño burger, extra grilled onion) landed at our table and after a few snaps, my lunch partner and I dove right in. The tortillas are still warm and pliable, the salsa cold, bright and garlicky, and the pollo was perfect. (The burger was fine, but it's not called Hamburguesas Asadas, so who cares?) Moist. Tender. Expertly seasoned. And somehow, slightly better than we remembered? The rice was solid, the beans are still some of the best around – if not the best.

Maybe I'm still riding a Pollos high, but the return of this beloved Rigsby joint was well worth the wait.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.

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December 1, 2021

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