The other day, while running errands around Lewis Center, we noticed a restaurant we’d never tried before. It was a super frigid day in Columbus, and as we drove by, I noticed the patio first.
The tables had cute tiki grass thatched coverings and it reminded me of being on vacation. Somewhere warm and tropical. I could picture myself sitting at a cute tiki grass table, toes dipped in the sand, and icy margarita melting in my hand. The vision was so strong in fact, that I made my husband pull into the parking lot.
And I’m so happy I did because I couldn’t believe that I had never been to this hidden gem so close to my house! I was blown away by the service, the food, and the speed!
And because some secrets are meant to be shared, here are 6 reasons to check out Iguana’s Fresh Mexican Grill in Lewis Center:
1. They serve Baja Mexican fare.
Here in the heart-of-it-all, Ohio we’re lucky to be surrounded by some amazing Mexican food. We have access to authentic taco trucks, street food, supermercados featuring small eateries, and all kinds of Tex-Mex. What we seem to lack, however, is access to Baja Californian fare. (Cali-Mex? Is that a word?)
If you’re wondering what I’m referring to, allow me to explain. Tex-Mex is what we are most familiar with here in Columbus. Characterized by meat and cheese heavy dishes, Tex-Mex is why we think that Mexican food isn’t always a healthy choice. Baja style dishes, on the other hand, tend to be lighter and healthier. Fish, shrimp, and other seafood are often the featured proteins, alongside vegetables and freshly made salsas. You see lots of fresh cilantro, avocado, and bell peppers.
It’s the kind of food you could eat every day and never feel like you overdid it. And Iguana’s Fresh Mexican Grill does such an awesome job!
They are known for their fish tacos. I knew this going in, because I read #YelpReviews, but my husband is allergic to fish and we love to try as many things as we can when we go to a new spot and I knew I’d be sharing. But just check out those fish tacos…yum!
2. They have a killer salsa bar.
When we walked into the restaurant, we were immediately greeted and when we mentioned it was our first time, the owner walked us through the process.
Basically, you have two choices. You can either walk up to the counter, order your meal, head to the salsa bar and grab a table OR you can grab some salsa, head to your table and wait for a server to come over to take your order.
Being the nosy, talkative type, I opted to stand at the counter, ask a million questions about each menu item, and place my order before grabbing a table. As I was standing there asking my questions, hubby and the six year old were losing their cool over the salsa bar.
“Mommy! They have FRESH limes! I want FRESH limes!”
Meanwhile, my husband was saying “Wow – habanero salsa AND spicy salsa? Wait, AND that pico looks awesome. Oh, and they have tomatillo salsa, too?”
Somehow those two managed to balance all the salsas (and limes!) in their hands to carry back to the table, while I grabbed some drinks.
As soon as I got to the table, a basket of fresh tortilla chips was placed in front of me.
My husband and I dug into the chips while the weirdo six year old dipped her lime wedges in salsa. (Ok, I was intrigued, and I have to admit, lime wedges dipped in fresh pico de gallo is fabulous.)
3. They are FAST.
By the time I was stuffing my third still-warm-from-the-fryer tortilla chip into my mouth, OUR FOOD ARRIVED. I know my family spent a solid 2 minutes ogling the salsa bar options and all, but it had been roughly 6 minutes from the time we ordered lunch until plates of hot delicious food were placed in front of us.
I looked around to make sure we weren’t the only table in the place, and it was over half full, so I was beyond impressed. I immediately added Iguana’s to my list of suggestions of “kid friendly places” because even a toddler can wait six minutes before having a meltdown.
And they have a solid kids menu! My little one loved her quesadilla. It also came with a drink.
When the manager stopped by to ask how everything tasted, I told him how impressed I was with how fast everything came out and joked that we must have come at the right time.
Well guess what? Apparently, it’s not a fluke and they even have DRIVE-THRU service.
Let me repeat:
4. They have a drive-thru option.
You guys! You can pull up your car, order an ENTIRE fresh Mexican feast for your family, and not even have to get out of your car. This is a complete game changer, especially if you aren’t really into the fast food scene.
Parents, you can pick up fresh, healthy dinners ON THE WAY HOME. And I’m not talking about an “order in advance” and get “curbside” service nonsense, but a legit – drive up to the window, place your order, and receive fresh food in a matter of a few minutes.
Crazy concept, amirite?
5. I love their vibe.
I loved the decor. It felt like I was on vacation somewhere amazing. Check out their cute patio!
Even the bar inside has major tiki hut vibes.
Pull up a seat and order an agua fresca or a house margarita.
6. They have delicious elote.
For the uninitiated, elote is the Mexican take on corn on the cob. It’s served as a popular street snack in Mexico and generally hard to find around here. At Iguana’s, they steam the corn in its husk, drizzle with white sauce, sprinkle on some tajin (which is an blend of chili, lime, and salt) and roll it in some cotija cheese.
Unreal. So so good.
I hope you get a chance to check out Iguana’s Fresh Mexican Grill soon….especially that drive-thru option!
Iguana’s Fresh Mexican Grill
76 Powell Rd, Lewis Center, OH 43035