Craig Bannecke, Class of '65 - You have posed a good question about Mexican Food. Whenever Jennifer and I go back to Huntsville to visit family and check on her Mom I try to at least once, to eat at El Palacio's. Matter fact her family pretty much knows I like to eat there and so when we get together to go out and eat they often will suggest El Palacio's. The last time we were In Huntsville I got to thinking that I did not remember ever eating Mexican or for that matter Chinese food when I was growing up.
Matter of fact, El Palacio, is where I was first introduced to Mexican food in the early 70's by David Phillips. We use to go there for the lunch buffet special. The restaurant just celebrated it's 40th Anniversary a few years ago and hasn't changed much since I first ate there. One thing however Jennifer pointed out the last time we were there, was it appears to be the same carpet they had forty years ago. I believe she's right !
Linda Kinkle Cianci, Class of '66 - I used to eat at El Palacio Mexican Rest. on the Parkway in the late 60s. My friend says she thinks it's still there, but after getting food poisoning at El Palacio a couple of years ago, she hasn't been back. Eating at El Palacio was my first experience with Mexican food. Wow! We would eat the chips & hot sauce, now called salsa, and tears would flow from the eyes (and nose - nose tears?). Then Mike & I moved to Denver and experienced what I'd call some "real" Mexican food. Talk about those tears - wow! Years later, when we accompanied our youngest son and church youth group on a mission trip to Piedras Negras, Mexico, we finally did have real Mexican food, prepared by the missionaries at a children's home where we were working. It was not spicy (no Old ElPaso seasoning mix for them). The sauce, which contained freshly chopped cilantro, was hot, but not unbearably. It was truly delicious. Today, my spicy foods are much less spicy, and that hot sauce is on the mild side.
Tom Gilbert, Class of '67 - I think Taco Bell came there in 1966 it was across from Shoneys. That was my first taste of Mexican food.
Jim Johnson - A guy by the name of "Chili" Yarbrough on Alpine Street in Huntsville Park (the area in the NW quadrant of the intersection of Triana and Drake) made them (tamales) for years and used corn husks/shucks to hold the "innards" together. He sold them predominantly to mill workers and the local citizenry for a dollar a dozen.
El Palacio is the frist Mexican restaurant I recall, but I do not recall the specific date it began operations. It was located at the SW quadrant of The Parkway and Governor's Drive. I knew the Ralph's who operated the Rebel Inn later as the Rebel Dugout.
Lance George - The 1964 phone book has El Toro Lounge at 3413 Governors Drive with "Complete Mexican Dinners" In 1966 El Toro vanishes and El Palacio pops up at he Goldenrod Motel,where The Goldernrod Restaurant was and LaFiesta at 1309 N Pky (which was open 1 year,It was The Hickory Pit in the 67 book)".