By Renato Ghio
As you know, or have guessed by now, eating out downtown is kind of our thing. We love to explore the small “hole in the wall” restaurants that fill our urban streets. There’s a lot of really good food here.
One spot that we’ve fallen in love with is Papaya Mexican Grill. Located at 54 Liberty Street, next to a used car dealer, sits this small family-run Mexican restaurant. It’s easy to pass this eatery by and not even realize you missed it. But I’m telling you, get out of the car and stop in. It’s a hidden gem.
I guess you could categorize Papaya Grill as a local fast-food joint. It’s certainly fast, but someone is actually making your meal with real ingredients. Inside the modest location, are colorful walls, a handful of tables and a chalkboard menu behind the counter. They have a small but varied menu, offering made to order tacos, tortas, quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos and daily specials, including a soup of the day. As for drinks, you have the basic options of soda, bottled water, energy drinks and iced teas. They also have house-made drinks, like agua de horchata and agua de papaya, which rotate on a frequent basis.
One of the fun, unique features at Papaya Grill is the salsa bar. There are house-made green sauces, red sauces, mild sauces, hot sauces and fresh pico de gallo, as well as bottled hot sauce favorites too. There are also toppings like pickled jalapenos (Alicia’s personal favorite), whole chipotles in adobo, sliced radishes and onions. After we place our order at the counter, we immediately see what’s in the salsa/toppings bar and select at least four different items before settling into “our” table by the window.
We’ve tasted the tortas, tacos and burritos. They’ve all been delicious. Our favorite thing to order is the taco combination plate. You can get two or three tacos with the filling of your choice served with rice and black beans. It’s a filling lunch; you might need a nap afterwards.
Papaya Mexican Grill is one of downtown Danbury’s tiny hidden gems. You get really good food at an incredibly reasonable price. They are open 7 days a week from 11am to 9pm. Cash and credit cards accepted.