In a city with hundreds of Mexican restaurants, it’s difficult to stand out, but Cafe Mayapan supersedes all expectations of border fare. The unique restaurant has promoted culture and tradition since 2001 by serving authentic, nutritious food while contributing to community development and empowering women through the La Mujer Obrera organization. The cafe also utilizes fresh produce from their farmers market when in season.

Years ago, the cafe’s food offerings were served in a cafeteria-style food court setting. These days, friendly wait staff tends to all your needs, presenting you first with a complimentary basket of thick, freshly fried tortilla chips and a roasted jalapeno salsa with a subtle kick. Appetizers include guacamole, chile con queso served with corn tortillas and mini baked tostadas topped with beans and queso fresco. Fresh salads that combine either freshly roasted chiles and nopales (cactus) with shredded chicken or beef in a cilantro vinaigrette pair perfectly with their variety of soups, but the sopa Azteca (tortilla soup with cheese, avocado and chipotle in a light red chile and tomato broth) and caldo Tlapeno (chicken and vegetable soup with avocado and chipotle sauce) are everyone’s favorites.

You’ll find Mexican standards of enchiladas, chile colorado, chile verde stew and flautas, but you’ll also find tacos and burritos with options that are more common to central Mexico. Fillings of chipotle mushrooms, Mexican squash with cheese, green chile strips in cream and perfectly tender nopalitos (cactus slices) have made Mayapan popular amongst vegetarians. Also served are turkey meatballs, Veracruz-style fish and grilled cactus stuffed with asadero cheese served with rice. Side dish choices of black or pinto beans, whole or refried, are also offered.

Breakfast is served on Saturdays, and during the week, daily specials vary, but often run out and it’s easy to see why. Where else in town can you find enfrijoladas (enchiladas made with a creamy bean sauce), tlacoyos (stuffed corn dough tortillas) and tortitas de nabo (turnip patties with tomatillo sauce)? During fall and winter, they’ve served the seasonal coveted national dish of Mexico, chile en nogada (meat-stuffed poblano chile topped with walnut cream sauce and pomegranate).

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