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“Excellent food and atmosphere, but extremely over priced!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Uncle Julio's Hacienda

Uncle Julio's Hacienda
2360 Fountain Square Dr, Lombard, IL 60148
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Ranked #39 of 171 Restaurants in Lombard
Cuisines: Mexican
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Excellent food and atmosphere, but extremely over priced!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

I try to be very descriptive with everything I do, sometimes less than others. But I can attest to the quality, atmosphere and ambiance of this restaurant going back about 18 years, at their first Chicago, Illinois opening downtown on North Ave and Clybourne. I always wished they had opened up their bar area on the weekends to have open floor dancing while you waited. The atmosphere is very upbeat. I was about 16 when my friends and I first started going there. There were periods where we waited about 1-2 hours to sit down and other times where we frequented so much that we were often seated more quickly. I haven't been to the downtown location in several years, but I have seen that they have opened an outside seating area for the summer months, there is now a section that can be closed off for private parties & if you're lucky and he still works there, ask for the bartender that has been there over 18 years. He is one of the great ones!

Now that my family and I have lived in the western suburb area for the last 10 years or so, they expanded and opened another Uncle Julio's in Lombard, IL at the Fountain Square on Butterfield Rd, about 5 minutes west of Oakbrook Mall. We still frequent there, maybe once every one to two months. They have a great staff there (except for the newbees - they can always use a little help). The food is not traditional Mexican food, but more of a Tex-Mex style. They have homemade flour tortillas, better than any Mexican restaurant I've ever been to. The one downside is that they have never taken reservations, which really doesn't make sense considering how busy they have become over the years. They do do this thing called "Call ahead seating," although I am not particularly a fan because even though you call ahead, you still have to wait a fair amount of time after arrival. The food is always great, drinks are good and atmosphere is lively. But they do have a downside. My family and I eat out ALMOST every day of the week. We go to all types of places, upscale and mid to down scale. The main reason we don't eat here as much anymore is due to their pricing. When I was 16 and first started eating there, the fajitas for one used to be about $17.95-$19.95 (forgive me, it's been a LONG time and I couldn't recall exactly). Today, the fajita plate for one is about $29.99, almost double.) Their special swirl drink that is OH SO DELICIOUS used to be $4.95. It is now about $9.00. They have had the same "special" for about 18 years, called the "Cadillac Platter," which includes a lobster tail and fajitas, although I have noticed the other night, they had a list of specials, different items that we had never seen, such as the "Brisket tacos" which were quite delicious. Their ribs are good, their quesadillas are wonderful and on certain nights, they have a BBQ chicken quesadillas, which is very good, as well. But their appetizers are also about double in price. Now the reason I bring this up is because I've seen the prices change over the years, but I can't say I've seen other higher end restaurants raise prices nearly as much. I understand that we have inflation over time, but other restaurants such as the Cheesecake Factory, Wildfire, Maggiano's, etc, have not increased their pricing almost 100% over the last 18 years. I'm curious to know how other restaurants have been able to keep their costs at a reasonable rise, but Uncle Julio's could not? And I don't think that Uncle Julio's food prices are justified to be as close to other high end restaurants, such as those mentioned above. Don't get me wrong, you will love whatever you try, but I don't feel that it is worth the price you will pay. For a family of four, two adults and two children, you will spend about $70 with an appetizer without tip, or more if you order drinks. I've even been told that within the last year, not only has management raised prices, but they have also switched out the chip bowls, salsa bowls and other plates to be smaller, but filled to the top, to hope customers wouldn't notice the change, although chips and salsa are refillable at no charge at anytime. I can't speak to a ton of restaurants to this degree, but I can here because we used to go here almost every weekend! I couldn't wait until Friday to have a delicious swirl! They used to have post cards on the tables that my friends and I would send to each other as a joke to say we had gone there without one or the other. I can note design changes in both downtown and Lombard over the years, staff changes and menu changes quite well.

So with that said, I definitely think it is a place to try at least once. Although I am disappointed in their pricing over the years, we have always gone back for more, just not quite as often. I personally feel that they could still run successfully, but without raising their prices every year. Their food is excellent, drinks are great, too. They do have a decent selection for the kids menu, everything is $5.95 to $6.95, I believe. It is very family friendly. They also give kids tortilla dough to play with at the table (you may have to ask for it, but it is always available). Thanks for listening and enjoy!

  • Visited December 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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118 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
79 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Better ambiance than food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

A good place to have a cocktail, but the food is not very authentic and it's quite loud. Maybe a better place to take the kids.

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Everything that could got wrong went wrong”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2012

We've gone here many, many times and our most recent was by far the worst I've ever had. My wife wants to chalk it up to it being late (close to closing) but i believe that if you're open, ACT LIKE IT! Our server was nowhere to be found. I had to go to the bar to order additional drinks for us. I ordered the special, which were 4 jumbo shrimp, wrapped in bacon and drizzled with habanero sauce. They came to the table cold. I couldn't find anyone to tell, so I took them up to the bar myself for them to be remade. By the time the new order came out, my wife had already finished her meal and had to wait for me. Not a good experience and no concessions made by the manager, except for a quick stop by to assure me they were coming out soon with my order.

Uncle Julio needs to step his game up next time, if there is a next time....

Visited November 2012
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Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
78 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
“Pretty good but not authentic”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2012 via mobile

It sure was busy for lunch. We were promptly seated. Service was very good. menu was well-explained and server was on top of things. We all ordered fajitas. I don't know how you can make chicken taste so good, but it was delicious! Tortillas were fresh and fluffy. tortilla chips were thin but salsa was flavorful with a hint of a bite. Everything was nicely presented. Prices were reasonable for the area.
It's not a place to go if you want authentic Mexican cuisine, but it's great if you want a delicious Mexican-ish meal. I'd go again if I was with a bunch of gringos!
Not a date spot. Nice decor but noisy and family oriented (read: kids running all over).

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Wonder Lake, IL
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“Awesome Mexican food, with some creative menu options”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2012 via mobile

We went here for a work dinner function. The food was very good. They had low-calorie margaritas really neat appetizers like guacamole with fresh crab and ceviche. The steak meat that they used for their carnet asada and their fajitas was very tender, almost melting your mouth. Highly recommend. The only drawback is they do not take reservations even if you have a large group

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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