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Chronic Cantina Smokes the Competition

October 3, 2008

by Kyle Ragins

Chronic Cantina is a great new Mexican restaurant in the Claremont area that no student should leave Claremont McKenna College without trying. While the restaurant is now nearly a year old, I must admit that I just noticed it this fall. Located over on Central Ave, between 6th St and Arrow Hwy, I was immediately attracted by its logo, which matched a restaurant named Chronic Tacos in Newport Beach. Chronic Cantina offers relatively cheap, and undoutedly awesome, Mexican food. They have a taco plates for $3 and burrito plates for $6. Chronic Cantina does not offer anything too fancy--just your normal Mexican fare--but it does it well, and sometimes all you need is a fatty carne asada burrito to hit the spot.

Even cooler than the food, Chronic Cantina has a great vibe. It is basically like Hooters as a Mexican restaurant but cheaper. The place is covered with flat screen TV's tuned into every sports channel on the planet, including FuseTV, the action sports channel with surf, skate, and ski videos--which I always find myself mesmerized by. It also features busty waitresses wearing skimpy outfits, who are conditioned to flirt with creepy old men for tips, and as a result, are thrilled to flirt with CMC college guys they are actually attracted to.

Perhaps best of all, Chronic Cantina has a "college night" every Tuesday night, where there is an all you can eat taco and quesadilla bar for $5, along with specials on other items. Beers on tap are only $2 and a single taco is only $1. I have not been but apparently they have a DJ spinning, and the whole thing sounds like it could be a lot of fun as a preparty for Tuesday night beirut or Table Manners at Pomona.

Finally, in case you were wondering about the logo commonality with Newport Beach's Chronic Tacos--as I was--they are part of the same franchise. The Newport Beach Chronic Tacos was founded in 2001 by two surfers, Daniel A. Biello and Randall L. Wyner, who were looking for a place to get their grub on after early morning surf sessions. The food they serve at Chronic Tacos in Newport is the same as Chronic Cantina, with both using family recipes from a third generation Mexican family. In 2005, Chronic Tacos was so successful that they started opening up other locations, and franchised the company. Today--only three years later--there are dozens of locations across Southern California and even Arizona. Chronic Cantina is the newest branch of this chain, bringing the tastiness of Chronic Tacos--which any Orange County surfer can attest to--to a sports bar setting.

In my humble opinion, it rocks. So next time, before you head off to your beloved Chipotle, give Chronic Cantina on Central a try. Same cheap prices, but better food, hotter waitresses, and way cooler atmosphere.

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