There are few downtown businesses that have a history prior to the 1970 tornado. When many businesses left in the months and years that followed, Jimenez’s Bakery remained. In 1980, the building across the street from her father’s bakery became available. They moved into the new space, opened up a restaurant to complement the bakery, and have been there ever since.
As the revitalization of downtown continues, Martha is happy to see the increase in business as more people live and work in the area. She is a pioneer of downtown with a vision of restoration, having brought people to the area for five decades.
When you walk into Jimenez, it feels as if you are stepping back into Old Mexico. Immediately, you’re greeted by a large wall mural created by a Mexican artist. And, Martha is proud to tell you of her architect brother’s work bringing tile, stone and other building materials from Mexico for the restaurant.
Right away, the smells set the scene. If you’re looking for Tex-Mex, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is authentic, home-cooked Mexican food.
If you show up early, you’re going to find a line out the door waiting for breakfast burritos and fresh pastries. Colorful conchas, perfecto puerquitos and delicious pan dulce sit among a beautiful assortment of made-that-morning morsels. If you have some time, sit down to enjoy some juevos rancheros, migas a la Mex or Martha’s famous El Nortnero with eggs.
Once lunch time rolls around, Jimenez transitions to the restaurant side. Regulars make up a good portion of Jimenez’s business including a woman who has been coming since her father opened shop. They celebrated her 95th birthday in the restaurant a couple years ago. Now, if you’re lucky and you come on the right day (usually on the weekends), you’ll have the chance to try arguably the best menudo around. I’m not lucky. We struck out twice trying to catch the classic dish before they ran out. I guess that just speaks to how good it is. We did, however, try a couple of other traditional dishes that did not disappoint.
We started with the caldo, a flavorful stew of potatoes, corn, cabbage, carrots, celery, tomato, beef and broth served with rice and tortillas. This dish is hearty and packed with flavor. Top it with a few fresh jalapenos, and it’s perfect. From there we moved on to the molè chicken. The classic sauce of chilis and chocolate combined with a ton of time, love and tradition is almost synonymous with traditional Mexican food – and Martha’s is delicious. The bar has been set sustainability high as it was my first molè experience.
Jimenez regularly hosts events and celebrations from wedding receptions and graduations to quincineras for parties up to 90 people.
So if you’re tired of tacos and bored with burritos, skip the Tex-Mex and get yourself to downtown Lubbock for a proper lunch. And, you wouldn’t be wrong if you showed up early for breakfast.
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