The East Side’s Funkmeyers Rec Room has been known as El Paso’s first arcade bar and home to Tacoholics. Last winter, a chain reaction of events caused the culinary stars to align. Tom’s Folk Cafe closed its doors while Tacoholics announced it was leaving Funkmeyers to open a place of their own on Zaragoza. Mourning the absence of Tacoholics and Tom’s was quickly replaced with elation when Funkmeyers revealed that their kitchen would be headed by Chefs Lawrence Acosta and Michael Diaz de Leon of Tom’s, as well as Dark Horse Tavern and Comfort Co. Tasty Eats food truck, respectively.
Funkmeyers salutes all things ‘80’s and ‘90’s, so the chefs naturally created a menu that draws from childhood favorites, pub food classics and border flavor. The whimsy begins with a non-alcoholic beverage menu of housemade kool aids and shaken teas that are just begging for a shot of liquor. Minty sweet tea, hibiscus tea, coconut tea and other fruity teas are refreshing, but you can’t resist the housemade kool aid syrups that flavor fizzy mashups called Purple Burple (grape) and Ecto Cooler (orange tangerine).
No more separate food and drink tabs, the ordering process is now streamlined with a friendly wait staff that will take care of everything.
The menu lends itself to sharing with a variety of flatbreads, pretzel bun sliders that are mini versions of their full-sized sandwiches, funky fries (pulled pork, cheese sauce and more), and deviled eggs, which get the wing treatment with blue cheese, buffalo sauce and pickled celery.
Speaking of wings, be sure to try their boneless wings that come with your choice of sauce and ranch dressing (original, Maggi or michelada). Chicken thighs undergo an intensive process of an overnight brine, a buttermilk marinade and finish off in the fryer or on the grill. Each wing sauce sounds simple enough, but contains a laundry list of ingredients, creating complex, bold flavors; original hot (buttery), sweet and sour (perfectly balanced), miso honey (earthy sweetness) and BBQ (peppery and tangy) sauces are reserved for the fried wings, while the margarita, Thai peanut tamarind glaze and jalapeno (smoky with a bit of sweetness and subtle heat) sauces are restricted to the grilled wings.
The mac & cheese should be called mac and capital C-H-E-E-S-E, because under a blanket of melted cheese lies penne pasta swimming in a rich cheese sauce of green chile and Cajun-spiced bacon that hints at smoky chipotle, garlic and rosemary flavors. To cut through the richness, try a refreshing salad of mixed greens with roasted citrus supremes, Israeli couscous and toasted, sliced almonds in a citrus vinaigrette; avocados are mashed right in, binding each ingredient together for the perfect bite.
The “between the bun” section features elevated comfort food, which comes with their hand-cut fries, or for an upcharge, select mac & cheese, sweet potato tots, side house salad or funions (homemade onion rings). Choose between a half-pound specialty burger, a sloppy joe made with beer-braised beef, chorizo and green chiles, a torta of Coca Cola-braised carnitas topped with a fried egg, or a chicken sandwich (grilled or fried) with spicy ginger slaw and beer mustard.
Other options might convert any carnivore into a vegetarian, if not for a few minutes, with the BBQ veggie sandwich topped with fried onions and smoky slaw and the beet milanesa torta, served on bread that tastes as if it was slathered in honey butter. Beets are sliced, breaded and fried, and tied together with avocado aioli and greens; it’s one hearty meal that touches on all flavors and textures, complimented by the vinegary heat of a crisp chile curtido (house-pickled jalapeno).
Finish strong with a root beer float served with the flavor-of-the-month ice cream, made from scratch of course. Also offered are molten chocolate cupcakes with a churro bite or a weekly feature, which has previously included ice cream sandwiches, like brownies with rocky road ice cream and lemon sugar cookies with Froot Loops cereal milk ice cream.
Funkmeyers’ reboot is an indulgently good time with high-end food, and you can’t beat the free arcade play, drink specials, wing Tuesdays and burger Wednesdays. Stay tuned for a few more changes, including seasonal items.
1506 Lee Trevino, Suite B-1
Kitchen hours: Closed on Mondays. Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sundays 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Bar stays open until 2 a.m.