Lunch Menu Review – Serranos at Symphony Square – Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

Posted on August 11, 2009 by


Mind Meld With Miles Over Migas!

Still no migas… but this time our review is at least TexMex.

serranosLunch Menu Review – Serranos at Symphony Square – Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

serranossymph31Another extremely hot day downtown at lunch time this Summer. A few days into this Summer heat wave and I found myself eating at an outside venue that’s always been of interest to me. I’d run an errand in the car yet ended up dining at a locale nearby to where I work; definitely within walking distance lying at 1111 Red River Street. I found a nice shady spot in one of the two small parking lots across Red River from the restaurant.

Despite having beaten the crowds and having the whole interior to myself I chose to brave the incredible heat and sit outside at one of the metal patio tables under a red-canopied umbrella. No one else joined me outside for lunch.

More Serranos @ Symphony Square

The friendly waiter took my order: Chicken Enchiladas lunch special – one of their “5 LUNCH SPECIALS for 5.99” … a good deal featuring two delicious verde-sauced enchiladas stuffed with juicy chicken with sides of Spanish brown rice and a cup of charra beans. I love their frijoles a la charra! Very savory. They come with a small topping of melted cheese on top. Complimentary chips and salsa, as it should be. A very good menu for very little money. My only criticism would be the waiter should have been more attentive to my aquatic needs on such a sweltering day; he never refilled my glass (which I finished very quickly) or asked if I’d like more water.


I thoroughly enjoyed sitting outside under the umbrella despite the intense heat. The interior of this particular Serranos is rather dualistic in that it is partially in an old house with many homey rooms featuring hardwood floors – an intimate and familial atmosphere. The other paradoxical part of this location’s interior is a medium sized open dining room with windows on three sides opening up onto the patio and grounds outside that make up Symphony Square.

The Symphony Square complex is in fact an historic locale…

Jane Dunn Sibley Symphony Square, an attractive complex of four historical limestone buildings and a 350-seat amphitheater at the corner of Red River and 11th St. near the Capitol in Austin, is thought to be the only restoration project in the United States to house the offices of a symphony orchestra. The complex serves a growing audience 12 months of the year.

The Symphony Square Project, begun in 1971, was conceived and directed by prominent citizens on a wave of civic awareness. It was sponsored jointly by the Austin Urban Renewal Agency, the City of Austin, and the Austin Symphony Orchestra. The Square is within easy walking distance of Capitol grounds, the LBJ Library and other downtown Austin tourist attractions.

So the project to build this place began the year I was born, 1971. I guess it’s kind of historic for me personally too.

The Jeremiah Hamilton Building is an attractive, triangular building at the corner of 11th and Red River. It is thought to be one of only three stone triangular buildings still standing today in Texas. It houses the Box Office and Facilities Office of the Austin Symphony. Jeremiah Hamilton, one of nine black legislators serving in the 12th Texas Legislature from 1869-1871, built it in 1871.

Interesting… one of three stone triangular buildings… nine black legislators… built in 1871. Another 71! Hmmm…

In addition to the Hamilton Building, Symphony Square contains the Michael Doyle House, considered one of the few remaining good examples of a simple, one-story vernacular stone cottage in Austin. It serves as the home to the Women’s Symphony League of Austin.

The third building is the Hardeman House, which was moved from its original location in East Austin and serves as home to Serranos, a popular restaurant serving Tex-Mex food.

It always amazes me when they physically move entire houses.

The fourth building is the New Orleans Club Mercantile, at one time a popular Austin nightclub and now a beautifully restored 19th-century building serving as a space for private parties catered by Serranos.

The property also includes a 350-seat stone amphitheater where the Austin Symphony hosts Children’s Day Art Park every Wednesday morning in June and July for youngsters from pre-school through age nine. Children’s Day Art Park features performances by local entertainers, an Instrument “Petting Zoo,” storytelling and arts activities under a large tent next to the Doyle House.

I have a very fond memory from my youth when my Mom brought me to the square to see Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers perform live. Unfortunately I don’t remember the details. But thinking of Tom Petty and my youth immediately conjures memories of his great song, You Got Lucky.

[Oops, looks like embedding is disabled. Please go to YouTube and check out this classic Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers video from the 80s. Here is a live version from 1985.]

On a more recent excursion back to this particular Serranos I got one of the other lunch specials, the “2 Entrees & 2 Sides for $7.99” and chose two cheese enchiladas as my entrees and frijoles a la charra plus stuffed jalapeño peppers as my sides. It was delicious! And the wait-staff were much more attentive to my water needs this time around.  

More Enchiladas @ Serranos by you.

More Enchiladas @ Serranos

I highly recommend this downtown location of SERRANOS “Tex-Mex Mesquite” as a tasty, inexpensive lunch time destination.

1111 Red River Street

Austin, Texas 78701

Locations around Austin.


Lunchtime Reading


Tracking the emergent properties of the collaborative online story “deus city” for testing the standard model of Alternate Reality Game

By Adam Lloyd Brackin (PDF / PDF)

More ARG Papers at Scribd


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