The Indiana Insider Blog

Great Eats in The Region

Lucky for Butler students, the University gives us an entire week off for Thanksgiving break. Instead of going home immediately, I decided to travel to Chesterton, IN, to visit a friend for a few days. On the Saturday evening of my arrival, my friend suggested we go get Mexican food at one of the best Mexican restaurants in the northwestern Indiana – also known as The Region.

El Taco Real; Hammond, IN (Photo credit:

So we set out on the Indiana toll road for Hammond, IN and El Taco Real. Yes, I said Hammond, IN, but hear me out first. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I was looking forward to trying a new restaurant. El Taco Real is only 1 or 2 minutes off the interstate and very simple to find.

El Taco Real opened in the early 1970s by the Garcia family when Mr. Garcia suggested to his wife that her cooking was good enough to open a restaurant. And, the rest is history.

Be sure to try this must-have appetizer, queso fundido!

When we arrived the entire restaurant was full. We were directed to the waiting room in the back of the restaurant near the bar. Margaritas all around and the bartender had a big personality. Since we decided to go at the end of the dinner rush we only had about a ten-minute wait. My friend mentioned that on a Friday or Saturday night the wait could easily be an hour and a half.

Once we were seated, we started with the must-have appetizer of queso fundido – broiled cheese on a bed of sautéed tomatoes, onions and jalapenos. You eat the cheese with chips or tortillas. This was queso perfection. It makes my mouth water just thinking of it.

My taco dinner!

Somehow I found room for a main dish and ordered the taco dinner. El Taco Real is famous for their pork filling so I opted for that instead of my usual chicken. The three overstuffed tacos and rice that made up the dinner were so filling and so good.

My friend decided on the burrito dinner with the pork filling also. It was just as good. We left about an hour later full to capacity and with the food and appetizer we couldn’t finish.

The next time you are passing through The Region be sure to stop at El Taco Real in Hammond. You will leave very happy and with a new favorite Mexican restaurant.

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