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Dining Guide

CLOSED: Rio Grande Grill BBQ & Tex Mex

Photograph by Daniel Vaughn

Finally, someone in The Valley is doing brisket good enough to travel for. The beef at Rio Grande Grill was a revelation. Dense slices from the flat had good smoke from the mesquite and a well rendered rim of untrimmed fat. Their brisket meat was buttery soft with a rich smokiness deep into each slice. This was brisket worth coming back for, but be sure to ask for it right off the bat. Their sides are also standout. They have queso, rice & beans, tortilla soup and tacos. Add a spoonful of their homemade chimichurri and a warm four tortilla to any order. You have your choice of Texas toast or tortillas, but you can get both if you ask nicely.

City: Harlingen


Method: Mesquite in an offset smoker

Pitmaster: Daniel Wright

Price: $

Rating: ★★★★

Address: 417 W Van Buren Ave., Harlingen, TX, 78550

Hours: Tues-Fri 11-9, Sat 11-3

Phone: (956) 423-1817

Year Opened: 2013 under current ownership

Last updated: December 16, 2013


  • KayP

    I LOVE their fish tacos! They are why I eat Saturday lunch there. My S.O. enjoys the enchiladas suisas with the smoked chicken and the pulled pork. And they have great beans, with smokey meaty bits. The chimichuri sauce is great, and I love the cilantro sauce and the mango habanero sauce with the fish tacos. TIP: The mango habanero sauce makes a fantastic topping for their homemade ice cream! I like the cole slaw too, it’s got a nice dressing and is not over-dressed. I enjoy the fact their food is not over-salted like you find at so many restaurants. And they are friendly and willing to modify the order to suit your preferences. They also showcase local musical talent, which is an added bonus.

  • Dan,
    I dropped by about three weeks ago and asked you for three gift certificates (in any amount) to serve as consolation prizes for our annual spelling bee fund-raiser. You agreed to e-mail them to me. To date, I have not received them. Please reply.

    Linda Klowetter, Director

    • Jacob

      Wow- what a place to write that! On Texas Monthly’s web site! Talk about Rude!

      Congrat’s to Rio Grande Grill! May you continue to experience great success!!

    • Linda Dan here , sorry very busy. Come by the shop and I’ll have those gift certificates ready.

  • Jose

    Linda, your comments have nothing to say about the business please abstain from writing these type of remarks since readers like me don’t find it helpful in any way. I want to know more about heir food. And, direct your personal or business concerns to them directly.

  • Great food. Fish tacos are amazing and so is the brisket… Best Spanish rice I’ve had ever! Can’t go wrong… I just wish the place had more seating…

  • Great food in a very cool atmosphere. The brisket and fish tacos are totally groovy.

  • Tony Vedia

    One of the best mesquite smoked briskets I have tasted to date. Smoking with mesquite is not an easy process. Daniel and the Rio Grande Grill staff nailed it. Great smooth, smokey flavor, tender, and moist. The customer service was friendly and top notch. Will definitely make a drive from Laredo again.

    Tony Vedia

  • James and Joy Arnold

    Great brisket–everything else, too! Everyone was super friendly, and the live music was peppy and pleasant! Fun atmosphere and very family friendly!

  • Joel Willamson

    Completely overrated & overpriced. It was a lot better when previous owner ran it.