Short Order: Amigo Joe's
Amigo Joe's opened in July at 5901 Southwest Avenue, the former location of Leonardo's Little Italy. As best I can recall, it's the only restaurant where I've seen an "Emergency Exit Only" sign on a patio gate.
Amigo Joe's comes to us from the same folks behind Chimichanga's (5425 South Grand Boulevard). Like that restaurant, Amigo Joe's has a festive atmosphere -- rainbow lights are draped throughout the large, multi-room space -- and a lengthy menu featuring few variations from the area's many other Mexican restaurants.
On another occasion, I tried carnitas, one of my favorite foods on this or any other planet. Generally speaking, carnitas is pork roasted or braised and then briefly pan-fried in its own rendered fat. It's pretty much fool-proof deliciousness, and while the carnitas at Amigo Joe's might not have had the most complex flavor I've encountered, I still scarfed down most of it.
Those seeking volume for their dollars will be pleased to know that Amigo Joe's offers many mix-and-match combos (one burrito, one enchilada, and so on). Lunch specials are priced exceptionally low.
There is ample seating. The smoking and non-smoking sections are separated by an area that serves as both entryway and bar. Sitting in a non-smoking room, I didn't notice crossover smoke. There is also the aforementioned patio. Remember: Use the gate only in case of an emergency. In all other instances, just stand on your chair and jump over the fence.