It's been a long time since I've been to this restaurant, which occupies two storefronts in a prominent downtown Cloquet building. When my dad was alive, we'd go there every often, and we once had the Christmas party we throw for our store's employees there. Ever since the last time I visited, around the Summer of '06, I've intended on going back "soon", but not until recently did I have the brilliant idea to eat lunch there before a dentist's appointment - right on the way.
As soon as I entered, around 1 p.m., I noticed the place was quite busy - especially with the economy as it is. Many of the tables were occupied, and as I ate, there seemed to be a steady stream of diners.
The waiter brought out a generous basket-worth of gratis nachos and the house salsa, which was quite good - but I did not want to ruin my appetite for the entree. I chose the Mole Ranchero, which I had not previously had there. In fact, I don't believe I've ever eaten mole, aside from trying it once in Spanish class and not at all liking it. But I held out hope.
Within 10 minutes, the dish came out, and it was large. About one half of the plate was devoted to the dark-colored mole ranchero, covering what I believe was chicken; the other two quarters were allocated to rice and what I believe was a bean / cheese mix. Off the plate were three soft tortillas wrapped in tin foil.
The mole ranchero was very good with the tortilla, also when eaten with the rice, but a bit salty when I scooped it up alone. The beans and cheese were also very good - no complaint there. The rice and tortillas were rice and tortillas, and made for a good vehicle for the mole ranchero and the beans, but unfortunately they were not sufficient for the quantity of beans and mole served (at least the way I eat with tortillas - tearing little pieces off like naan or injeera) and I found myself scooping up the sauce with the nachos. Nevertheless, the meal was very good, generous in quantity (I was surprised I ate the entire entree), and cheap - the total bill came to roughly $8.75 with tax. Service was good.
I later asked my aunt (and dentist) about the place - she said it indeed is very popular, and you might even have to stand in line on a Friday night. She tells me people drive all the way from Duluth (about 15 miles east on I-35) just to eat there.
If you happen to be in Cloquet, perhaps going to or from Minneapolis, or just to see the Frank Lloyd Wright gas station (about six or seven blocks from the restaurant), make sure you check out this worthy restaurant.
Mexico Lindo Restaurant
915 Cloquet Ave, Cloquet, MN 55720
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