The Skeeter’s Mesquite Grill of today is clearly not the Skeeter’s of 20 years ago.
That much is clear if you visit any of the local chain’s locations, which even on random weeknights are crowded with boisterous youth sports teams, multigenerational clans and solo diners grabbing quick fuel in between running errands in the surrounding strip malls.
Although this supremely family-friendly restaurant is still the source of satisfying burgers, piled-high nachos and taco platters, the menu has evolved considerably, especially in the last few years, in order to ensure that its non-minor customers (or actually anyone vested in eating more healthfully) aren’t left with slim pickings (pun intended) when it comes to waist-friendly fare.
See, for example, the salad selections, which have expanded beyond the pedestrian Caesar and garden varieties to include a refreshing kale option with sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, almonds and feta laced with a lemon juice and olive oil, and a grilled chicken salad with bacon, chopped Roma tomatoes, toasted pecans and red onions atop fresh spring mix. By the way, while Skeeter’s, as its name suggests, has always used mesquite wood to grill its meats, additional proof in the form of actual logs are now on display in the dining room.
And while the soda fountain is still flanked by bowls of crayons to keep restless younger customers busy with impromptu still life drawings, there is also a carafe of cucumber-infused water for those seeking non-sugary, non-alcoholic refreshment. (Though on a cheat day, we do recommend a Skeeter’s margarita.)
The greatest evidence of Skeeter’s welcome recent deviation from its comfort food roots are the grain bowls. The eponymous Skeeter Bowl is a delightful stick-to-your-ribs but not stick-to-your-ass assemblage of kale, avocado, red onions, cucumbers, almonds, black beans and brown rice enlivened by ginger dressing. My favorite, however, is the fibrous Southwest Bowl: Brown rice layered with black beans, avocado, pico de gallo,and slaw, plus a sprinkle of toasted tortilla strips for salty, crunchy contrast. Although chipotle-lime dressing provides subtle citrus heat to the bowl, you’ll find it just as satisfying naked. (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!).
You can substitute Mexican rice for brown with both bowls or add chicken, beef, turkey, salmon or buffalo meat for an extra charge should “It’s Not A Meal Unless Animal Flesh Is On the Table” be your family’s culinary credo.
Finally, use the calories you have saved on a slice of Skeeter’s moist carrot cake—hey, it’s just another serving of vegetables.