It’s interesting that Gringos Locos would use two self-derogatory terms as its name. First you’ve got Gringos, a disparaging term that Mexicans use to describe pretty much all non-Mexicans but especially Americans. And just to twist it a bit, add the Spanish word for crazy.
And the owners, Rob Bair and Jay Clark, admit in a note on the restaurant’s website that they are a couple of gringos, although they don’t say anything about being nuts (then again, they decided to go into the restaurant business, so assumptions may be made). They also say in their note that despite being gringos “we know Mexican food.”
I won’t go that far. What is served in this little eatery in downtown Orlando has a lot more in common with Tex-Mex than Mexican, with a definite leaning to the, uh, gringo side of the border. But they do serve some decent food in a delightfully grungy atmosphere.
The menu is a bit salacious, with such entries as Dirty Sanchez, Drunk Gringo, Mouth Hugger and 1 Night Slam. Mainly, it’s tacos and burritos. I had the Drunk Gringo, which has nothing to do with alcohol. Instead, it simply means that it is the burrito into which everything is loaded. (Drunk. Loaded. Get it?) So instead of just one meat -- or protein, as it is prosaically referred to on the menu -- you get roast pork, ground beef and chicken. You also get beans and rice and lettuce and cheese and onions and...you get the idea.
They’re all crammed into a large flour tortilla folded tightly and wrapped in aluminum foil. There was a lot in there, and a lot of it was good, albeit almost impossible to eat by picking it up and even difficult with the chintzy plastic knife and fork. Also, the lettuce and sour cream had a cooling effect on the rest of the fillings, which rendered it mostly lukewarm.
The guacamole my friend and I shared was disappointing in that it had so much lemon in it that nothing else, including avocado, could be tasted. And the chips weren’t worth noshing on by themselves.
This is a fast-serve restaurant, with food ordered at the counter, paid for and picked up at the register. You can dine in at one of the tall tables or get your food to go. Gringos Locos was doing a brisk lunch business the day I visited, but I think their best customers will be those who need to put something in their bellies before, during or after a night at one of downtown’s drinking establishments. May I recommend the Drunk Gringo to the drunk gringos?
Gringos Locos is at 20 E. Washington St., Orlando. It’s open for lunch Monday through Friday and dinner Monday through Saturday. Open late night every night, 3 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Click here to go to eatgringos.com. The phone number is 407-841-5626.