Tuesday, December 04, 2012, 1pm by visitRaleigh
Jody Lytton is one of the most motivated people I've ever met. He graduated from North Carolina State University and began working as an electrical engineer for IBM. His career brought him to Florida and Texas where he fell in love with hole in the wall Mexican restaurants and taquerías. After seven years of separation from the Research Triangle Region, Jody moved back and his yearning for amazing, flavorful Mexican food was out of control. He couldn't find a restaurant in the Research Triangle Region to satisfy his specific tastes. Instead of working on Wii and Xbox 360 microprocessor designs, Jody began contemplating the restaurant business. He started taking entrepreneurship classes and earned a certification in culinary arts.
Jody's IBM career allowed him to work from home. Instead of staying in the Research Triangle Region, Jody utilized this time to rent a condo for a month in Florida to conduct research for his Mexican restaurant concept. The research didn't end in Florida. Jody and his previous business partner took at trip to San Antonio, Texas, during the development of their menu. They visited 15 hole in the wall Mexican restaurants to learn about the presentation, style and flavors of authentic Mexican dishes. Jody's favorite part of the trip was discovering San Antonio's markets lined with vendors selling gorditas served with guacatilla salsa. The food was fresh and authentic, exactly what Jody wanted on his menu. After a few margaritas and much debate over the restaurant’s name, he decided on Chubby’s Tacos. Once Jody was back in the states, he worked with his cooks to design the menu. Jody guarantees that all Foodies will love the menu at Chubby's Tacos. The menu is essentially made up of authentic family recipes bursting with flavor. You'll be addicted. Trust me, I’ve eaten at Chubby’s Tacos three times in the past week. My office is right down the road. I can’t help it!
After responding to a quirky Craigslist ad about an old restaurant for sale, the first Chubby’s Tacos opened on Cinco de Mayo in 2008. Most of the vegan and vegetarian options were developed as a result of the first location conveniently located to Duke University’s campus on Ninth St. Other restaurateurs on Ninth St. encouraged Jody to include options serving customers with dietary needs. Tofu, fresh vegetables and portabello mushrooms were added to the menu as well as beans cooked without lard. My favorite vegan option is a burrito with portabello mushrooms. You've been warned, the burrito is the size of small child. I always have to take half home during lunch to eat for dinner.
Jody believes Chubby’s Tacos has a “cult following,” and I would have to agree. Chubby's Tacos is so popular and Jody has expanded the operation to include five stores in the Research Triangle Region, including two Raleigh locations in the Lake Boone shopping center and the Falls River Town Center. People are addicted, including myself. One of my coworkers eats at Chubby’s Tacos at least four times a week. A local band cut a CD and Chubby’s Tacos is in their dedication section. My neighbor, Melissa even named her boxer puppy “Chubbs” due to her intense love for the restaurant! Chubby’s Tacos is unique because the food is extremely flavorful and the prices will keep your pockets happy. No wonder people keep coming back!
The Chubby’s Tacos located in the Lake Boone shopping center has a great outdoor patio. I enjoyed lunch with Jody in the beautiful sunshine as we watched the restaurant develop a line out of the door by noon! The restaurant reminds you of a small cantina with Mexican decorations plastered on the walls.
Jody guaranteed that I would love the Smothered ChubbyChanga, a fried burrito filled with cheese, onions, salsa asada and chicken tinga. The best part about this ChubbyChanga is that it is smothered with chili, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.
One of my favorite parts about Chubby’s Tacos is the salsa bar. The salsa is made in house and you won’t find these types of salsas anywhere else. I’m obsessed with the chile de árboll salsa, which is made with arboll chili peppers, tomatoes and onions. Every salsa pairs nicely with the warm, house made tortilla chips made from ultra thin tortillas.
Jody prefers spicy dishes. If you like it hot you have to try the carne asada tacos, spicy steak morsels with cilantro and onions served on fresh soft six inch flour tortillas. Chubby’s Tacos only uses certified Angus beef because Jody cares about the quality of food he’s serving to his customers. Jody’s standby is the nachos, crisp corn tortilla chips topped with refried beans, cheese, jalapeno slices, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and choice of an additional filling. I particularly love the carnitas nachos, and for $5.50 you can’t beat that deal.
Jody offers five beef, three chicken, two pork and two seafood options at Chubby’s Tacos. The menu is endless and includes nachos, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, gorditas, tortas, taco salads and more. The food is flavored to perfection and you can tell the cooks pay a lot of attention to detail when preparing the dishes. Have you had a Chubby today?
Written by local Foodie, Kristen. Follow her foodie adventures on Twitter!