Don Juan on the Square
Lovingly known as DJ’s, this little cantina stands out among Tyler’s ubiquitous Tex-Mex spots (mainly because the fare is the latter—no “Texican” here). It’s not the place to go when seeking a dark, quiet corner; the decor is fiesta-esque, and one is sure to know at least two other patrons on any given night. Situated across the street from the courthouse and catty-corner from the county jail, DJ’s was born in 1997, when it’s founder, musician and entrepreneur Juan Barron, began selling his delicious tacos at the soccer fields where his children were playing. One can taste the flavors of Barron’s hometown, Salamanca, in the shrimp cocktail served in a beer mug with fresh salsa, slices of avocado, and octopus, and the sopes, thick corn pancakes with a layer of refried beans, lettuce, tomato, onions, and steak, chicken, or shrimp (upon request). The authenticity of the dishes is indisputable, the food is consistently good and fairly priced, and the place is always packed. Locals are such repeaters (the recidivism rate is particularly high among the surrounding legal community) that they are often greeted by name and have no need of a menu. Luckily for the weary attorney and the rest of us, DJ’s makes a mean margarita; if you have the good fortune to stop by, order a Big Steve.