Rossville, Georgia, is known throughout metro Chattanooga as midway on the busy corridor linking the Scenic City's Southside with Fort Oglethorpe, the Chickamauga Battlefield and beyond.
Although the town has not kept pace with surrounding communities in some respects, bright spots such as the recently revamped city park, John Ross Commons, and sale of many of the city's long-dormant factory buildings could lead to a potential renaissance in the near future for the city of 4,000.
If you go
› Where: La Familia Mexican Restaurant, 516 Chickamauga Ave., Rossville, Georgia
› Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
› Prices: $1.99-$23.99
› Alcohol: Yes
› Phone: 706-956-3210
› Website: facebook.com/lafamiliamr
Historically, aside from a smattering of fast-food joints and meat-and-threes, there hasn't been much to draw diners to this unassuming little burg.
La Familia, a family-owned Mexican restaurant, is changing that. In the span of three years, the eatery has realized an ever-increasing clientele with an appetite for authentic Mexican cuisine. The March 2017 passage of liquor by the drink also paved the way for La Familia to become the first restaurant in the city to pour alcohol, allowing guests to enjoy beer and margaritas with their meals.
Additionally, each week and on special occasions, La Familia offers various activities such as Texas hold 'em tournaments, karaoke and paint parties in the dining room off the main dining area.
La Familia occupies one of the city's oldest buildings on Chickamauga Avenue, but it's been updated.
The ambiance is no frills, low key and casual, with leather booths lining each wall of the dining room and a few stand-alone tables in the middle. A polished bar takes up most of the back of the room, while more tables are available in the adjoining dining room.
The restaurant's menu is surprisingly elaborate. There are some 50 dishes available in its five pages, making it a bit difficult to decide what to order. In addition to a generous array of specialties, there are too many varieties of fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, chimichangas, soups, salads and appetizers to mention.
After much deliberation over a couple of substantial and rather tasty margaritas ($9.95), we opted to try the Fajitas Hawaianas ($12.99) and the chef's specialty – Pollo Con Rajas ($9.95).
Either of these dishes would have been enough food for two people.
Fajitas Hawaianas consists of fire-grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, onions, peppers and pineapple chunks piled high in a carved pineapple and served with rice, beans, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, cheese, pico de gallo and flour tortillas.
It's hard to go wrong with fajitas if the kitchen's doing it right, and that's definitely the case here. The steak, chicken and shrimp were all grilled to perfection and the garnishes served fresh. All in all, some of the best fajitas I've tried, and lots of it.
The Pollo Con Rajas — grilled chicken breast sauteed with poblano chili peppers and onions and drizzled with a cream sauce and served with rice, beans and flour tortillas — was excellent. It would be tough to beat this tender, marinated chicken and its near-perfect blend of spices.
Other options we considered but saved for another visit include the Steak Alambre ($9.99), Pollo Azteca ($9.95), T-bone Steak Ranchero ($11.95) and classic Chiles Rellenos ($7.99).
Our server, Louis, was friendly, attentive and made sure everything arrived fast and at the right temperature.
La Familia has all of the elements necessary to become a "go-to" restaurant — fantastic food, good prices and convenient location. While there are plenty of other options for Mexican food in the area, La Familia's offerings seem a cut above the competition. This place is well worth a visit.
Contact Chris Zelk at 757-6244 or email@example.com.