I first fell in love with Mexican food at Super Mex.

When I’d relocated to Long Beach from the Mid-West, I’d never had the real-deal before — my understanding of cuisine from south of the border was limited to an Americanized fast-food chain represented by a talking Chihuahua.

So when I was introduced to one of Long Beach’s best success stories, a family-owned chain called Super Mex, all that flavor and California-fresh produce on my plate was a welcome surprise.

Perhaps that’s why, even though I’ve tried many of Long Beach’s best Mexican restaurants and cantinas, I always come back to my favorite Super Mex in Belmont Shore.

A Bite Of History

Long Beach legend has it that a couple, Socorro and Manuel Orozco, opened the original Super Mex on First Street and Alamitos Avenue in downtown Long Beach while they raised their four children and continued to work other jobs to support themselves. That was in 1974.

Their homemade food, particularly the burritos and fresh tortilla chips, caught on in the community, and the business grew; today, there are 14 locations, including the recently renovated restaurant on Second Street in Belmont Shore.

The Orozco family members still maintain the company.

About The Atmosphere

A popular eatery in the Shore since 1991, the business got a long overdue facelift in 2016 and reopened with upgrades such as patio dining facing Second Street, accordion doors, a cantina-style bar and new flat-screen televisions.

An alcohol license approval also meant a new cocktail menu.

Stopping by the refreshed restaurant for lunch with a friend recently, I found that Super Mex in Belmont Shore is serving up the same great flavor in a more comfortable and modern setting than before. The new patio was very inviting, and I could see myself easily spending the afternoon sipping drinks and watching people pass by.

About The Food

While you wait for your food, the custom at Super Mex is to enjoy the restaurant’s signature salsa and whole corn tortillas, fried crispy.

Patrons make their own chips at Super Mex, breaking up those warm tortillas to dip into a finely blended salsa that is good and hot.

Orozco family members said the tortilla breaking at Super Mex is just one way to illustrate to customers that the food, all the way down to the chips, is made fresh on site.

Also good with those chips and salsa is the Made To Order Guacamole, which comes elegantly served with chips embedded inside a fried tortilla; it’s a perfect mixture of avocado, cilantro, lime, tomato and onion.

I don’t believe there’s a better guacamole in town.

What makes Super Mex’s guacamole the best around is that the avocado isn’t mashed until it’s indiscernible — rather, the avocado is left in generous chunks that sit nicely on those crisp tortilla chips.

For entrees, there are generously portioned dishes for even the most ravenous patron, with most items and combos priced less than $10 per plate. It’s difficult to choose what’s best among the entrees, but my favorites include the Chimichanga or any of the enchilada dishes.

Good enchiladas, even just the basic cheese ones, are the test by which I measure most Mexican restaurants, and Super Mex always gets top marks. The enchiladas are simply splendid — oozing with melted cheese and dripping with a delectable sauce that tastes even better when mixed together with beans and rice.

The Orozco family — from Soccoro and Manuel to their children and grandchildren who have kept the business going so successfully — have created something special with Super Mex. The local chain is something all Long Beach residents should be proud to call our own.

Important To Know

Super Mex in Belmont Shore is at 4711 E. Second St. For details, call (562) 439-4489 or visit Free lot parking is available in the back lot.

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