9225 Dyer St.
El Paso, TX
Date of Review
Update Mar. 2016: La Paloma was one of my favorite restaurants in El Paso, but when I moved away from the neighborhood I did not make it there very frequently. The “No. 1” La Paloma was in the area of town known as South El Paso, where you generally find the most authentic border style Mexican food (but it’s usually very inexpensive and not what you would call “gourmet”). Still, the restaurant had several very good dishes, and was known for its flour tortillas.
The second location, on Dyer Street in northeast El Paso, charged higher prices but I think they increased the quality of the food. The first restaurant on Dyer was a small place that I remember from the 1970’s (or possibly before), and the building shown in the photo was the “new” restaurant (which was definitely much nicer).
The La Paloma Special was my favorite dish in the early days, mostly because they had one of the best versions of chile con queso in the city. Later the Chicken Mole because my favorite dish, and I never could really believe it was made from a mix even though the owner told me this was the case.
Looking back, I could make a good case for giving it a higher rating than is shown in the review. Although not many dishes here were among the best in the city, La Paloma’s standouts were among my favorites of all time, and these might have been given more weight in figuring an overall score.
(Following is the review of La Paloma from 2004 (with updated photos):
La Paloma No. 1 was a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant in South El Paso known for its chile con queso hamburger steak (La Paloma Special) and greasy french fries. Some family members went out Dyer Street to what was then the edge of town to open No. 2 with just about the same food and the same 1950’s-era diner decor. No. 2, though, improved on the food and charged higher prices, being in “prosperous” Northeast El Paso.
Today La Paloma No. 1 is closed and No. 2 has built a much larger and more modern facility. The food is just as good as ever, and I think it is actually better. The La Paloma Special has always been one of the specialties of the house. The hamburger steak is about the same as the ones found at any restaurant, but the chile con queso poured on top is one of the best I’ve experienced.
Although La Paloma has never claimed that their Chicken Mole is a specialty, I have always thought it is one of the best. I do not think it is authentic, and the owner admits it is made from a mix, but it has a good strong flavor and texture that I like. The chicken is not exclusively white meat, but there are substantial chunks of it.
The Red Enchiladas are quite good–with a deep red chile that is similar to New Mexico style, they are some of my favorites in El Paso. Although the heat index overall is about standard for El Paso, the red enchiladas are close to a 5.
The real standout item here is the complimentary Flour Tortilla served with every dinner–it goes great with refried beans and chicken mole.
The Pico de Gallo served with the chips is one of the best anywhere.
La Paloma was one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants when I lived in northeast El Paso, and it continues to be one of the best in the city.
I was a young boy in El Paso in the 60’s and moved away in ‘72. Our family went to 2 Restaurants that I remember; Furrs and La Paloma. I remember watching the ladies make the tortillas and getting them hot at the table. I would put butter on them, roll them up, fold the bottom over and (hopefully when my mom wasn’t watching) fill them with Sugar from the jars on the table. I’ve always liked dessert first. Since I was just a kid, my favorite Irish was a bean burrito. I’ve only been back to El Paso once since ‘72 and that was in ‘06 minutes hen I was driving through. Went to see the old neighborhood and church, but now I wish so had gone back to ala Paloma.
I practically lived at the original La Paloma in downtown El Paso. From 1955 through 1959 I was in the Air Force at Biggs, and then from 1960 through 1963 I worked in El Paso as a civilian technician. I have been friends with the family and made my last visit there in 1997. I thought that their enchelada dinner (for 55 cents in 1956) was as good as it gets. I once ordered (by mistake) 12 burritos. thinking I had ordered only two. To this day my nickname at the restaurant is “Dose Burritos” poking fun at my lack of Spanish. Wonderful memories. Oh yeah…their stoves were all made by Wolf, and still used in 1997, Send me a reply
What family owned, originally circa 1966, the La Paloma on highway 54?
I would love to contact their kids; Louie &Louise,
My Dad would take us out for dinner as a kid. It was always one of our local Mexican restaurants where a steak was no more than $5. Miss those days and my Dad. The location of the 1st restaurant was Dyer and missile road or white sands road. It was the road the bus’s would commute to White sands on.
They had the best food and the price was right.
Drat. I have lost their names. I still have one of their Tee shirts. I’ll check some of my old stuff from the 50’s and get back to you if I find anything. I watched all of their children grow up ! I usually ate at their first restaurant in downtown El Paso.
The original La Paloma was at 706 N. Oregon and torn down in the mid 1960s to build I-10. It was then moved to the Delta location.
I lived in El Paso in the ’70s and ’80s and even before I actually grew up there and la Paloma was like one of my favorite places to get a Mexican plate with chile relleno no better than that you just can’t beat it
It is interesting that people have mentioned different favorite dishes from La Paloma, and I think this says a lot about the overall quality of the food that was served. I also remember the Mexican plate here as being one of the ones that I enjoyed the most.
La Paloma in the 70’s was great. I’m headed to El Paso after 20 years. Going to chicos tacos and LA Paloma if it’s still open. Is it ?
La Paloma is no longer open and I do not know of any “successor” restaurants that some family members might have opened under a different name. It seems a little perplexing, though that they had the old restaurant so many years and finally built a new and spacious restaurant (shown in the photo) only to stay there for a short time and then sell the building. Like many others, though, I also have fond memories of the restaurant.
I found your your amended review because I was telling my kids about Paloma 2 and decided to google for “la paloma” “el paso” and “mole”. Your review is the only thing that came up!
I used to eat at the “new” Paloma 2 in the late 80s and early 90s. But my first experience was at #1 downtown. I believe it was quite close to the old Western Auto.
In your amended review you touched on my four favorite things there. The (1)chicken mole wrapped in one of their fantastic (2)flour tortillas, smothered in their (3)white queso and then I would spoon large quantities of their (4)pico on top.
Great memories and it’s nice to see that someone else enjoyed the same things from there!
La Paloma No. 1 was on Delta Drive. It may have been at the same location that is now the Oaxaca restaurant at 1017 E. Delta but my memory is not that good to know for sure. I had almost forgotten about the wonderful house prepared flour tortillas La Paloma had. For many years Kiki’s had ones that were made the same way but I believe this is no longer the case. In any event, I really miss the old restaurants and the ones that are still here but where it seems that the food is not the same (in many cases other people have a better memory than I do about how the food used to be).
I went to the La Paloma on Dyer back in late 60’s early 70’s. It was a tiny hole in the wall with red checked vinyl tablecloths. I can’t quite remember the location…but I think by Diana and Dyer. Dirt parking lot. Do you remember location?
Yes. I think it was across the street from where Wren intersects Dyer in a building which has since been torn down. La Paloma later moved into a new building south of Diana which is now the building where Sam’s Chinese Restaurant is located. The old building was so close to Dyer Street that it was almost scary to sit on the side of the restaurant next to the windows with the traffic passing by at high speed just a few feet from where I was eating. I always enjoyed the view, though, and sat there anyway.
I lived in El Paso in 1986 and was glad I was taken there to eat Swiss Enchiladas and was hooked and became a frequent visitor. Sorry to hear they are closed!
The date of the photo of the restaurant was March 25, 2007. I learned of its closing a few days earlier and wanted to get a photographic record of it. It apparently happened all of a sudden, and I did not hear any publicity about it.
I had also been eating there in the 1980’s and before, beginning when it was in a very small building on Dyer at about Wren Avenue (I believe the old building has been torn down). The original building was practically on the street and at times I did not want to sit next to the windows with the high speed highway traffic passing by just a few feet away.
The original La Paloma was on Delta near Cotton, and I frequented it at lunch time when I worked downtown. The prices at #1 were much cheaper but I preferred the food at #2 (Dyer). I do not know when La Paloma #1 closed, but I know it was while #2 was still in business.
The Dyer restaurant was something that I liked very much, but this in itself is not a good test because I rarely found any Mexican food that I did not like. The great thing about it was that my whole family liked it (when they came in from out of town) and this was our favorite family get-together place. I believe this was due to high quality food rather than Americanization of it to fit the tastes of people from out of town (my family likes real Mexican food when it is done well). I think everybody had their own items that they liked the best, and there were not just a few things that the restaurant did best at the expense of others.
Today the La Paloma building (shown in the photo) is Sam’s Chinese Restaurant, another restaurant which has found greener pastures in the suburbs than at its original location near downtown.
As I recall the original Dyer location had a bar you could sit at to eat with those little red bar stools like a soda shop?
We ate at #2 multiple times monthly, maybe even weekly in the late 80’s, and into the early 90’s before leaving El Paso. Wish I could recall our servers name… she was a fair skinned, red headed freckle faced skinny little thing, with a stormy sense of self , who at that time we got to know and like as much as we loved the food. She, like every other server in the place busted there butts to provide excellent service! I will never forget one quote she shared with me, that I have kept in my box of secrets all these years!
If we weren’t eating there I often went in just pick up the white quest to go. I loved that stuff and everything else in the menu.
Inlook d for it when I went back to visit and was sad to see it was gone! Hoping they had resurfaced searched again today for a friend who is visiting El Paso.
This may be a long shot but perhaps the chile con queso at Kiki’s or Carlos & Mickey’s might be similar to the one at La Paloma. At this point my memory of La Paloma is getting foggy but I think these might be good places to try.