If you ask Huntsvillians what the most successful local restaurant is, they’ll probably say Rosie’s. If you ask why, answers might range from their tasty salsa to the fun atmosphere to the stellar service. Being a Huntsvillian myself, I agree with this general answer, but sometimes I do wonder if the food is as good as it seems. Shane and I have eaten here as many times as any other Huntsville establishment, and it holds a bit of nostalgia for us. When we went to do a review, I worried that my emotions would get the better of me and that I’d like it no matter what Tex-Mex concoction came out on the plate. Luckily for me, what came out on the plate was the best chile relleno I’ve ever had.
Shane and I decided to have one of our “usuals”: the Grande Platter ($13.75), which includes a chile relleno, a beef enchilada, a cheese enchilada, and a chicken tamale (for which we sub a chicken enchilada). It is also served with a side of rice and beans, enhancing its grande status. As we waited for our order, we snacked on their famous chips and salsa. Rosie’s chips are not my favorite; they seem a bit thick and sometimes the oil they were fried in holds on a little too much, but their salsa is a must-try. Our waiter, being familiar with our habits, brought us two salsas to devour. As always, our entree arrived about five minutes after our order was placed. I grabbed the chile relleno off Shane’s plate, being sure to scoop up the delicious onion and pepper ranchero sauce. This chile relleno was perfectly cooked. The egg batter was light without being soggy and the beefy cheesy filling was flavorful with a little kick from the chile. The rice and beans were no winner, but rice and beans they were.
I can’t mention Rosie’s without mentioning the fantastic service. Our drinks are almost never empty, and the food is promptly prepared. In addition, the servers are often personable and will remember you if you make it a habit to visit. If you can beat the lunch or dinner crowd, you can easily get in and out in thirty minutes, but with an atmosphere this pleasant, who would want to? If you aren’t a chile fan, try the Mexican Lasagna or the Texas Enchiladas. The tortilla soup is also crazy delicious.
With a trip to Rosie’s, we complete our tour of the Rosie’s family of restaurants (Blue Plate, Phil Sandoval’s, Shaggy’s, and the Steak-out chain being the other members of the family). With two locations in Huntsville and a location in Florence, we’re traipsing near chain territory, but our mission here is to explore distinctly Huntsville establishments, even if there are a few locations, and Rosie’s is distinctly Huntsville, if nothing else.
Little can be said about Rosie’s that others have not said or, for many Huntsvillians, experienced. It seems that most of Huntsville loves Rosie’s. Many lunches are met with a 30-minute wait, and most weekend nights are met with an hour or so wait. Nearly everyone I talk to (which honestly is not many people) thinks Rosie’s is great. Everyone loves the food, service, and atmosphere, and few dare argue.
Despite my counterculture sympathies, I count myself among the majority of people who think Rosie’s is great. The service is excellent virtually every time. The waiters are professional, attentive, and efficient. During our most recent trip (the one for this review), for example, our waiter brought Melanie two drinks at the start, something any of us big-gulping Southerners can appreciate. Likewise, the food is almost always good. The quality occasionally is slightly less than expected, but it’s nothing an occasional visitor would notice. Our food during our review visit was as expected: the enchiladas were fresh, hot, and bathed in cheese. The atmosphere is fun and addictive, providing a colorful escape from a week of living out the Dilbert life.
Of course, Rosie’s isn’t perfect. The food is tasty, but it’s pedestrian. My palate always enjoys the food but has never been challenged by it. Occasionally, she’s too efficient: numerous people can tell you about being encouraged to eat up with an early receipt. The atmosphere, although fun, can be overwhelming and nearly annoying. The service, although good, is rarely personal. Over the years, we’ve been recognized by a waiter here and there, which is awesome, but the warm reception you might find in other non-chains is missing.
On the whole, I thoroughly enjoy and recommend Rosie’s. Our trip for this review was like the countless others: pleasant, fun, and delicious. Not mind-blowing in any one way, but excellent in all ways. And that really is the key with Rosie’s: it is always excellent. I know no other restaurant that so consistently delivers a good dining experience.
- Check out the prints on the wall near big booths in the back. You’ll see many of them at Little Rosie’s.
- If you like onions and cheese, try the Texas style enchiladas, which are cheese-filled and onion topped.
- Although we split a platter this time, Melanie and I often order the Mexican lasagna, which consists of layers of tortillas, cheese, and meat with hot peppers.
- Don’t hesitate to eat lots of salsa, which is my favorite of all salsas (with the burnt salsa at Iguana Grill closely following). In fact, the next time you visit, eat a chip for our buddy Richard by putting about 2 tablespoons of salsa on a chip and eating the entire thing in one bite.
Bonus: Insider Tips!
- #1: If you go to South Rosie’s (on the Parkway) on a Friday night, get there before 5:30 or after 7:30. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting a while, but probably less time than they estimate.
- #2: Unlike many restaurants, Rosie’s is good all day. You can show up 5 minutes before close, and you’ll get great service and fresh food.
- #3: You can get in with almost no wait on the first Friday or two of the high school football season.