Delia's opened in a small trailer along Dayton Pike in Soddy-Daisy last year. There was no indoor seating, but colorful picnic tables were installed around the parking lot. On pleasant days, you could drive by and see folks with containers piled high with Mexican fare.
A couple of months ago, the restaurant moved a couple of miles south into a new location with indoor seating, restrooms and everything else that turns a restaurant from a walk-up eatery into a full-service establishment.
But I worried that the new location wouldn't get as much drive-by traffic as the old place in the busy neighborhood near Walmart. The new Delia's occupies a building that, in my eight years of living in Soddy-Daisy, has been home to four restaurants. I could only hope that it had built up a reputation that would make customers follow the food.
I was quite impressed with the authenticity of Delia's menu. It helps to expand my south-of-the-border culinary knowledge. With huaraches, sopes, cactus tacos, costillas and such, it's obvious this isn't Taco Bell.
The order (for two): Guacamole, Mexican sausage sope, Delia's taco plate and a combinaciones platter.
Chips and salsa are brought to the table as soon as you take your seat. A sign out front advertises that all food made at Delia's is homemade. Their chips looked to have been fried in-house, not taken from a bag, and I think they were probably cut from tortillas in the kitchen as well. They were excellent. And so was the salsa - not too hot, but with enough zing to add flavor. The guacamole, a yardstick in any Mexican restaurant, met the measure. It was cold, fresh and delicious, though a few larger chunks of avocado would have made it even better.
The sopes were enough to make a small meal for one or a nice-size appetizer for two. A sope is similar to a pizza, served with a choice of meat on a cornmeal crust and topped with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.
Delia's tacos are unlike the mainstream. The flour tortilla shells are stuffed and grilled so that the edges are crispy and the middles are soft. If you order the plate, you'll get three with your choice of meats, including shrimp, al pastor and barbacoa, or a vegetarian version.
I chose pork, beef and chicken and couldn't have made a better pick. There's something about the seasoning that makes Delia's tacos a standout. They're simple and delicious. They come three to a plate, with no sides. No beans, no salad, no rice. Nothing but three really good tacos.
The combinaciones platter gives you a combination of taco, tamale and enchilada for a sample of other Delia specialties. I wasn't totally impressed with the chicken tamale, my husband's choice. It lacked the zing factor. But the ground beef taco had the same seasoning that was on my tacos, and the enchilada sauce that covered the cheese enchilada was packed with taste.
Delia's offers the expected nachos, burritos, chimichangas and fajitas, but also has fish, served whole or filet, and grilled chicken and steak, so there's something for all tastes. But there was no beer to cool the flame, even though it was advertised on the menu.
The restaurant makes the most of a small building with booths along one side and a couple of tables in the main dining area. There's a semi-wall at the back with more tables in that room. The kitchen is in back. The decor is simple with brightly painted cinder blocks adorned with a few colorful Mexican decorations, as well as a couple of paintings that looked more like scenes of Venice than Mexico. But that's OK. I wasn't there for the scenery, and whatever decorations were there showed that the owners put some effort into turning a plain building into something a little more eye-catching.
There was one server for the entire restaurant, but she managed to keep things under control and was very pleasant. There were a couple of moments when we needed things and were left to our own devices, but understandable as the restaurant filled up, and she was only one person.
I'll be the first to admit when I'm wrong, and brother was I when I thought Delia's would not survive in its new location. It has not only survived, it has thrived. The place was packed by the time we left the building, and takeout orders were being bagged for pickup. Count Delia's as another plus on Soddy-Daisy's restaurant row.
Email Anne Braly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
* Where: Delia's, 8363 Dayton Pike, Soddy-Daisy.
* Phone: 521-7145.
* Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
* Price range: $1.50-$10.99.