Jose Tejas in Mount Laurel opened at the end of December, and Mark from 42freeway.com (42Freeway.com) stopped in this week to check the place out! Margaritas and Fajitas!
The new Tex-Mex restaurant with full bar is located on Route 73 at Crawford place, next to the Hampton inn hotel.
While I would not consider Jose Tejas a chain restaurant, this is their 6th location and the first in South Jersey. The company markets as two different restaurant names, Borders Cafe and Jose Tejas. They are not affiliated with the On The Border restaurants.
Full hours are listed at the end of the article but note they are closed Mondays, and STARTING JAN 21st, OPEN WEEKENDS FOR LUNCH AT NOON!
The restaurant originally had its start back in the 80s in Massachusetts, with the first location located at Boston’s Harvard square.
In Delaware they have a location in Newark, there are two locations in North Jersey, and two in Massachusetts.
I’ve written about the new Mount Laurel location a few times, and those familiar with the restaurants seemed to have very complimentary things to say about the food, service, and margaritas in Facebook comments! After my first visit, I strongly agree!
Jose Tejas prides themselves on using only the freshest ingredients, with everything made in store including the tortilla shells, which I got to try as part of a my fajita dinner platter.
The Mount Laurel location was originally a Chili’s restaurant, before Chili’s relocated less than a mile away on Church Rd.
The Jose Tejas building had been closed for many years prior. The team at Jose Tejas has been working on the project for several years, delayed by pandemic impacts and other factors.
While the original exterior shell of the building is still recognizable, the entire facility inside and out was completely remodeled. I actually really like the building as it is not a basic block structure… on the exterior there are a lot of details, “character” and plenty windows.
Outside, the entire building has been refreshed including new brick pavement, new windows and décor items, the landscaping is all new, plus the parking lot was resurfaced and restriped.
Basically the building is brand new!
Inside, the interior was rebuilt with a light rustic theme of wood grained flooring and light brick walls and columns.
The room has a significant amount of windows and the space feels very bright and open, especially during the day. It’s tough to even say that there are walls as three of the four exterior walls are mostly windows!
On the far side of the front entrance there is also a separate indoor all glass patio, which while an indoor space is separated by a doorway to the main dining area which I imagine could be used for some small private functions.
To further carry off the Tex mex theme of the restaurant, in a few places they’ve created temporary barrier walls with cases of Corona beer.
The bar area is separated off to the right side in its own somewhat private alcove, and takes on a more darker rustic feel with exposed wood beams, and a wood accented bar.
Also, outside to the right of the front entrance is a small exterior patio off of the bar area, that while remodeled it appears that it’s not fully ready to be utilized for outdoor dining. Well it is the middle of a cold winter so there is no rush!.
Jose Tejas Food Experience
Currently they are only open for dinner hours, and on Fridays they open a little earlier at 3:00 PM.
I arrived closer to 4:00 PM (after a short visit to the awesome Bout The Hops Brewery FB which is 2 minutes away), and at first it was a very light crowd at Jose Tejas, as seen by my photos. But by the time I left a little bit after 5:00 PM, the place was packed, the bar was filled, and people were waiting for tables.
I sat at the bar and got excellent service from bartenders Jessie and Jim who made a great margarita, offered excellent service.. and genuinely just nice people to talk to when the bar was initially not so crowded.
Of course I had to go with a Margarita which was delicious! Lightly sweet, and not overly tart. My Margarita was made with Jose Cuervo tequila, and I really didn’t look to see what other options are, or if Cuervo was the standard.
The level of tartness is a big thing for me as many times bars make them overpowering with tartness and I have to stop with one margarita. At Jose Tejas, their’s was packed with flavor but they didn’t over due it with tarty bitterness! (Would you believe I own Markaritaville.com? One of these days I’ll have to put something online there!)
Since I was by myself I didn’t go too crazy with the menu and appetizers.
They offer tortilla chips and a delicious salsa, as is somewhat standard for these types of restaurants. But the Jose Tejas chips are made in house and I loved the salsa recipe.
I added on their freshly made guacamole which was delicious. But I think the salsa was the winner for me, paired with my tortilla chips.
Hearing that they make their own tortilla shells, for my dinner entrée I choose chicken fajitas.
Since my early arrival meant a light crowd initially, my order was delivered very fast. I could hear the sizzling crackling sounds of the fajitas on the hot plate, even before they entered the bar area where I sat.
The chicken, onions and peppers were delivered to me still smoking hot, and I was also delivered an array of bowls and a basket for my rice, black beans, fajita vegetables and sour cream, and of course the housemaid tortillas.
Factoring in my bowl of tortilla chips, guacamole and salsa, it seemed I needed two seating sections at the bar to comfortably fit all of my plates in. They were definitely losing money on the dishwashing for my order today! Ha!
I thought the fajitas were excellent, and I really enjoyed the tortillas that were clearly handmade and not something “printed” from a food processing machine.
But not a complaint at all as everything was delicious and fresh!
It was interesting to see how in the blink of an eye, my experience of sitting alone at the bar at 4:30 quickly turned into a packed house with customers waiting for tables, and at the bar people were politely being asked to shift over so that new customers (couples) could squeeze in to the bar seating.
I actually extended my stay a little bit longer as I got chatting with some very nice folks at the bar who also seemed to enjoy the food, ambiance, and service.
I’ll definitely be back to try again with my wife, family and friends.
As I said, even without an real advertising on their part, the new restaurant seemed to get busy. If you can get there early like I did, that is perfect.. and maybe try them out mid-week. But honestly isn’t that a general rule with all bar restaurants in our area?!
Links and Locations
Jose Tejas – Mt Laurel
1310 Route 73 South
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
Website (Border Cafe and Jose Tejas)
Monday : CLOSED
Tuesday – Thursday: 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Friday – Saturday: 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Sunday: 3:00 PM to 8:30 PM