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Tale of Two Guapos: Rotisserie (5 Stars) vs. Restaurant (2 ½ Stars)

Guapo's Fried Yucca
Guapo's Fried Yucca

How about lunch at Guapo's? That used to be an easy yes for me. I could eat their rotisserie chicken and fried yucca on a regular basis. The perfectly roasted chicken is juicy with a nicely seasoned, salty skin. The yucca, right out of the fryer, almost too hot to handle, is what a french fry yearns to be. This alone makes the trip worthwhile, but the menu is packed with excellent dishes. Their steak and pork ribs are tasty. They have a half way decent huevos rancheros, which is hard to find around here, especially as a non-breakfast item. Heck, even their steak and cheese sandwich is excellent.

Guapos Rotisserie Chicken
Guapos Rotisserie Chicken

I have been to their two locations in Manassass, both serve equally good food, but I find the ambiance at their Sudley road place to be calmer, not as elbow-to-elbow. It's a tad pricey for a place where you order and pick up your food from the counter, but, truly, this is worth it.

While up in the Rockville area, looking for a place to eat lunch during my work day, I stumble upon another Guapo's location. Goaded on by the ravenous growling of my stomach, my head filled with visions of poultry-flavored paradise, I open the door. I don't see a counter to place my order. A hostess offers to seat me. Confusedly, I follow her, slightly worried that I'm not smelling any chicken roasting. I flip through the menu, confirming my fears. They don't have chicken, steak or even yucca fries!! My only options are generic Tex-Mex with the requisite beans and cheese. Nothing you can't get at any number of chain restaurants in the region.

WTF? I look on their website, and learn that, indeed, there are two types of Guapos. Some marketing genius decided that, though they are different, they should be branded the same. Doesn't help that the naming of the types is confusing, too. The Tex-Mex Grills restaurants are the rotisserie locations, while the Fine Mexican Cuisine Restaurants serve Tex-Mex food. It also doesn't help that each location's signage uses a different vocabulary.

Long story short:

  1. Rotisserie (Herndon, Manassass and Woordbridge):
    Definitely worth a visit. Every item on the menu is good.
  2. Fine Mexican Cuisine (Maryland, DC and Arlington):
    I suppose, if you're a big fan of Tex-Mex and you have no other place to try.

How about lunch at Guapo's? Which one?