The Peoria outpost of this local Mexican chain is situated in the Park West shopping complex off the 101 and Northern Avenue. It’s modern, bright and airy inside, with blue and yellow chairs and bench cushions popping against pale neutral wood, breeze blocks and dangling geometric light fixtures. A decent wraparound patio has twinkling lights, fans and space heaters. Jalapeño Inferno’s Scottsdale locations (Pinnacle Peak and DC Ranch) boast even more spacious and charming outdoor dining.
Owners Terry and Laura Craig are restaurant industry veterans who are clearly aiming to offer “something for everyone” on their extensive menu of Mexican and Southwestern favorites. Happy hour is the best time to try a little bit of everything, since all appetizers are half off. Yes, half off. It’s one of the best happy hour discounts in the Valley. (Only one catch – see “The Drinks” section.)
I did not enjoy the discount because I ordered happy hour to go (still not dining in due to the pandemic), but when COVID-19 has abated I can see myself whiling away an afternoon with some margaritas and a crunchy, cheesy cornucopia of munchies at Jalapeño Inferno. The crowd pleaser for my household was the Monster Nachos (regularly $14.99), crispy corn tortilla chips layered with refried beans, cheese, tomatoes and meat (we chose grilled chicken), crowned with jalapeños – of course – and garnished with sour cream and guacamole. This could easily be a full meal for two people, with leftovers.
We also enjoyed the creamy skillet street corn (regularly $9.99), an easier-to-eat version of the on-the-cob classic elote. This iteration was especially creamy, pleasantly garlicky and served with fried flour tortilla chips – a nice spin, but we preferred pilfering the ultra-crispy corn tortilla chips from our abundant nachos to scoop up the kernels.
Lastly, the South of the Border Sampler Platter (regularly $15.99) gives you so much bang for your buck: mini red and green chile burros (stewy, yummy meat), mini fundidos (yes, please), queso dip (ultra-creamy), guacamole (again, I support this amount of garlic in everything), beans (so good), cheese quesadilla (average) and a green corn tamale (surprisingly sweet, and too much so for our taste, but if you love dessert-y tamales this will be up your alley).
Next time, we’ll try the shrimp ceviche (regularly $13.99).
You must buy an alcoholic drink to get happy hour pricing on the food, so pay close attention to this section! The best deal is a beer and a shot for $8. Margaritas run from $6-$9 during happy hour, depending on the tequila. Domestic draft beers are $4, premium drafts are $5 and California wines (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio) are $6 each.
Happy hour is offered Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. at all locations.
Additionally, the Park West location has great daily specials:
Sangria Sunday – Frozen black cherry sangria and frozen sangria swirls are just $5.
Margarita Monday – All margaritas on the menu are half off.
Taco Tuesday – Dine-in guests can order “all you can eat” tacos for $10.99. Top shelf margaritas cost $5 each.
Carry-Out Wednesday – Carry-out orders are 25 percent off all day.
Senior Lunch Thursday – From 11 a.m.–3 p.m., senior citizens (age 60 and older) get one free lunch with the purchase of a regularly priced lunch entrée and two beverages.