Three Mexican supermarkets where you can—and should—dine in:
Whiffs of cooked food from the deli, the aroma of fresh pan dulce from the bakery and the scent of freshly butchered meat fill the air, creating a medley of smells that you can only get at a Mexican market. Grocery shopping while hungry is never a good idea; an empty stomach leads to impulse buys. But Mexican supermarkets take care of you by offering warm, affordable meals from their in-house kitchens so you can fill up before you stock up. In Las Vegas, we are blessed with so many options when it comes to Latin American mercado dining, and my top three picks are locally owned and serving up some of the best comida in the Valley.
Whenever my family prepares for a cookout, we always hit up our favorite East Las Vegas carniceria, Los Compadres Meat Market (4381 Stewart Ave., 702-307-0814, LosCompadresMeatMarket.com). This neighborhood fixture has been around since 1995, providing fresh produce, baked goods and, of course … meat! From pollo preparado (marinated chicken) to beef ranchero (country-style beef), they have your next big family fiesta covered. Don’t have time to cook it yourself? The deli offers family packs that include your choice of meat, rice, beans, tortillas, salsa, green onions, cilantro and limes, starting at $10 for a half chicken to $46 for five pounds of grilled steak.
One of the most popular meals at La Bonita Supermarket (4120 S. Rainbow Blvd, 702-763-5860, LaBonitaSupermarkets.com) is the $7 lunch combo (Combo Almuerzo): Three tacos with a side of rice and beans and a drink. The tacos are solid, but I go for the burritos. For $5, you can choose a hefty burrito filled with asada (grilled steak), pastor (marinated pork), carnitas (pork fried in its own fat), chorizo or buche (pork stomach). And if you ask nicely, they might even make you a vegetarian-style avocado burrito (a secret menu item, only available at certain locations). Don’t forget to hit up the salsa bar on the way out!
Mariana’s Supermarket (574 N. Eastern Ave., 702-387-5588, MarianasMarkets.com) truly has it all: bakery, tortilleria (house-made tortillas and chips!), creamery, juice bar, a salsa bar and a full restaurant/deli. Be sure to check out the weekly specials for the best deals on food. I usually order the Cuban-inspired Mexican sandwich, Torta Cubana ($7), filled with ham, Milanesa (breaded beef), a fried egg, refried pinto beans, jalapeño, lettuce and avocado, which is guaranteed to satisfy before you tackle your shopping list.
Justin Favela is a Las Vegas native, artist, podcaster and taco enthusiast. When not in his studio, he is usually eating. Listen to his podcast at LatinosWhoLunch.com.