Numero uno in The Lantern’s Best of OSU poll for international food, Cazuelas Grill takes the cake — or in this case the queso — when it comes to campus eateries that serve global cuisine.
The immigrant-owned establishment has a wide variety of Mexican dishes that suit any dietary restriction and is only a short COTA ride from campus. Simply hop off the No. 2 bus at Patterson Avenue, cross the street and look for the patio with star string lights.
Cazuelas offers all the classics: complimentary chips and salsa, margaritas, tacos, burritos, enchiladas and more, all made fresh-to-order. You can even request to have your guacamole handmade right in front of you.
For those wanting to put their stomachs to the ultimate test and win some Cazuelas street cred, the restaurant has just the opportunity: the “Mucho Macho Burrito Challenge.” Up to two people race against the clock to eat a spicy, three-pound beef burrito in under 20 minutes. In order to win, you have to lick the plate clean of spicy enchilada sauce. Those who complete the challenge get a free Cazuelas T-shirt.
But even if you’re not into eating three pounds of beef in one sitting, the eatery offers another Mexican restaurant classic — Taco Tuesday.
In the back corner of the restaurant on Tuesday night, four friends shared laughs as well as chips and salsa beneath flat-screen TVs broadcasting a soccer game.
“We come here every Tuesday,” said Jeremy Riyanto, a first-year studying air transportation. “The dollar tacos are great.”
Riyanto said he lives nearby, so it’s easy for him to dine-in and enjoy the “laid-back” atmosphere.
“You can feel the stress on campus, and it’s gone here,” he said.
Although Riyanto and his friends described the atmosphere as relaxing, co-manager Paco Quezada characterized the restaurant as “high-energy [and] friendly,” adding that Cazuelas is a family restaurant that tries to meet the needs of everyone.
The local eatery has existed in the Old North area for more than 10 years. In 2016, the development of The View on Pavey Square — a conglomerate of luxury student apartments and housing developed by Solove Real Estate — forced the restaurant’s move from the corner of West Northwood Avenue and High Street to its current location at 2321 N. High Street.
“We grew like three times in size,” Quezada said of the move. “The first two or three weeks, until we figured things out, we got really busy.”
Cazuelas also keeps Ohio State students’ wallets in check with two happy hours from 3 to 6 p.m. and 10 to 11 p.m. every weekday, where those looking for a quick bite to eat or a cheap margarita can both be satisfied. All appetizers are half-off regular price (that means bean dip is only $2.50) and lime margaritas are $5.50.
“It’s pretty cool to have the OSU campus just down the street,” Quezada said. “It’s like family.”