Ruben’s now offering a Mexican buffet

The dining room at Ruben's Mexican Grill

Several times a year, some hungry reader writes wanting to know who in town offers a Mexican buffet. I just discovered a new one.

A little more than a week ago, Ruben’s Mexican Grill at 520 W. Douglas started a three-day-a-week Mexican buffet. It’s offered from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. The price of the buffet is $7.99 a person.

The staff serves the food from metal trays set up on a table in the corner of the restaurant. The choices are different each day but often include items such as tamales and enchiladas.

Ruben’s is one of my regular lunch stops. It’s close to work, and its flour tacos, chips and salsa landed on my “approved” list years ago.

As for other Mexican buffes: Cortez Mexican Restaurant at 344 W. 29th St., also does a buffet on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There’s also a Mexican lunch buffet at La Tradicion Tortilleria, which is at 1701 N. Broadway. It’s served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Two good ideas for lunch

Martha and Alberto Valdez, owners of La Tradicion Tortilleria

When a reader takes the time to e-mail me about a little-known restaurant, I go ahead and assume that it’s probably pretty good.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve received two such delicious e-mails. One was from Cindy Sundell-Guy, who urged me to try La Tradicion Tortilleria at 1701 N. Broadway. She raved about the $5.99 lunch buffet, the green chile with pork and the poblano and onion with cheese. Occasionally, La Tradicion serves mole, tamales and soups such as hominy stew.

“The first time I went in, the owner dipped me up a spoonful of everything on the buffet so I could taste it all,” she wrote. “I felt like I had gone to a Mexican covered dish dinner. What a treat.  He is really accommodating.”

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

**UPDATE** I went to La Tradicion for lunch today and enjoyed the buffet, which is different from a usual buffet in that the owners serve it up for you. Turns out it’s in the former Maharaja building.

Some things were better than others. And I smell like friedness now. But it was a fun experience. **END UPDATE**

I must admit I’ve never heard of the other restaurant that received reader praise: D’s Dairy Freeze. It opened last July in a former Pig-In Pig-Out space at 1935 S. Hydraulic.

The small restaurant, which has seating but does mostly drive-through service, sells ice cream, malts, shakes, burgers, salads, onion rings, pies and more. Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, but starting at the end of March, it’s open until 10 p.m. nightly.

Reader Lou Ann Ward works nearby and says people need to know how good it is. She wants it to stay in business but at the same time is afraid she’ll have to start standing in line when people realize what a value it is.

Lunch is in an hour. Go!