Jorge’s, a veritable diamond in the ruff, is located in the heart of Bessemer. By Pueblo’s standards, it is not considered the best part of town, but the food is definitely worth awkwardly avoiding a few gangsters lingering on the street.
Despite the despondent location, the exterior of Jorge’s is actually painted quite exquisitely, exhibiting bright colors and intricate artwork; images of folklorico Mexican dancers adorn the entrance. Upon entering the Cantina and restaurant, there is a certain cultural beauty to the many pieces of Latino art hanging on the walls, and the “adobe-esque” feel of the dining room is very inviting.
The bar area is open and airy; there are sizable windows, larger booths, and high tables where people seem to be enjoying themselves with one of Jorge’s signature items, margaritas. Undoubtedly, the best way to start your visit to Jorge’s is with one of these. Hefty when it comes to the tequila, Jorge’s offers (listed in succession of strongest to weakest in alcohol concentration): The Grand Tivo, Jorge’s Pink Cadillac, Horni Presidente, and the Casa, which is basically a house margarita.
If you are a lightweight, I suggest only one of these specialty margaritas; after two you’ll most likely be on the fast road to tipsy. The Pink Cadillac is a smooth blend of rich Hornitos tequila and fruit juices. It has a definite kick, while not overpowering, and the sweetness of the Cadillac helps to balance out the tart tequila taste. Higher up on the list is the Grand Tivo, which some would even say is locally famous. This drink is almost too appealing simply because it tastes so nice you might forget how much alcohol is in it. The Tivo, similar to a regular margarita but with the exception of Jorge’s special blending ingredients, has a tangy flavor and finishes off with a surprisingly pleasant, tart aftertaste.
Opting to sit in the bar was decidedly the right choice, as people started to crowd into the narrow doorway into this bustling restaurant, and the place started really filling up. The bar provided more than sufficient room to “lounge around” and feel comfortable while munching on fresh chips and red salsa and anxiously awaiting the arrival of the main meal. In the dining room things looked more crowded, and people seemed to rush; the bar had a more comfortable appeal to it.
That highly anticipated moment arrives when the food is finally here, and the table is chock-full of steamy goodness; chicken tacos on white and corn, a bowl of menudo (another specialty item at Jorge’s), a tostada, and the standard side dishes: rice and beans.
The chicken tacos on white and corn are exceptionally delicious, particularly because of the way the chicken is prepared. Even a humble restaurant go-er with minimal experience can tell that the chicken at Jorge’s is slow marinated, and non-processed; not any of those weird diced up cubes you might find at an inferior Mexican restaurant.
The tortillas are made in-house, and this makes for a superior taste, as there is a huge difference in quality when comparing house-made to store bought tortillas. Jorge’s also knows its way around a pot of menudo. It was equally delectable, well-seasoned and the hominy was perfectly cooked. Everything was complimented by a slightly spicy broth. For those of the more skittish persuasion, menudo is actually a soup which is popular in Latino culture and consists of tripe, hominy, and broth.
Although the main courses delivered, the side dishes didn’t quite add up. The beans were bland, and the rice was dry and unflavorful. The tostada was also a bit of a disappointment because of the unimpressive beans it was topped with. The beef on the tostada had a satisfying taste to it; sadly this was overpowered by the same tasteless beans.
Aside from the tacos, burritos, menudo, and tostadas, Jorge’s offers a wide variety of Mexican food. Fajitas, carnitas, enchiladas, chili rellenos, sopapillas, flautas, tamales, and desayuno (breakfast). Jorge’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina scores high with their chicken tacos, menudo, and specialty margaritas. While the staple side dishes didn’t excite, Jorge’s food and fare are generally favorable. Jorge’s is also a busy place, so heed a solid suggestion to come on a weekday rather than a weekend if you’re one to avoid the crowds.
*Jorges has three locations: Jorge’s Sombrero 1319 E. Evans Ave. Pueblo, CO.
Jorge’s Mercado 314 W. Northern Ave. Pueblo, CO.
Jorge’s O.C.C. 2427 W. Colorado Ave. Colorado Springs, CO.