If you are looking for a quiet, elegant meal, don’t go to the Hacienda on the corner of Riley and Sutter in Historical Folsom. This place is for having a good time. With a menu of great Mexican food and a full bar, the restaurant is more like a real Mexican cantina.
During football season, happy hour specials are served during the games at Sunday brunches and on Monday nights. Wednesday through Saturday nights, the action goes from 10 p.m. until closing. Wednesday is karaoke night, Thursday is video DJ and dancing, Friday DJ music and dancing, and Saturday brings either live music or a popular DJ.
In addition to the regular schedule, Hacienda del Rio has special events, like their New Year’s Eve party.
The Hacienda opened in 1979. Edward Auel, the current manager, started working as a bartender 15 years ago. In 2006 he became half owner with Chris Corda, who bought the Hacienda in 1995. David Miller bought in a year later.
Auel said the menu has gone back to basics. “We were mixing it up. Like we had turkey tacos. But with chicken, there was no reason to offer turkey. We decided to serve more traditional food. Our recipes are based on the ones that came from the families of our cooks now.”
Winter is good weather for soups, and the soups at Hacienda are made in-house — Chipotle Chicken, Tortilla and Albondigas (Mexican meatballs). Another favorite dish is Camarones al Mojo de Ajo, prawns sautéed in fresh garlic and butter, served with rice, beans, sliced avocado and corn or flour tortillas.
“Our fajitas are phenomenal,” said Auel. “They are not authentic; they are pre-marinated. February will be Fajita Fest month.” Chicken, beef or shrimp fajitas are marinated for 24 hours in a secret sauce, then sautéed to order with bell peppers and onion. The Drunken Chicken Fajita is marinated in Margarita mix and Blue Moon Beer, with some secret additions.
Auel said the bar serves four Mexican beers on tap, but the most popular beer is Blue Moon. The bar has 11 fruit flavors of Margaritas, frozen or on the rocks, by the glass, the liter, or the half-gallon (serves five). The 20-ounce Keepsake Margarita comes in a hand-blown glass to take home. Margarita prices range from affordable to the Top Shelf, made with premium tequila, Triple Sec and Grand Marnier.
Hacienda del Rio is upstairs at 702 Sutter St. The outside dining area overlooks Sutter and Riley streets, and is heated during the colder months. Inside, the bar area accommodates large groups and dancing, and the restaurant area has plenty of seating. On Tuesdays, kids eat free from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Auel and crew work hard to keep up Hacienda del Rio’s good food and good fun. It’s been a favorite for years, popular for local reunions, family groups and friend get-togethers.
For more information, visit hacdelrio.com.