Fairlawn’s newly remodeled Tito’s Mexican Grill specializes in authentic Jalisco-style cuisine

Titos Mural
The Tito’s remodel includes a dramatic, hand-painted mural in the dining room, featuring four faces in Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) make-up. (Right) Its lineup of margaritas includes the Signature (made with fresh, hand-squeezed orange and lime juice) and the Paloma, with the addition of fresh grapefruit and Tajin seasoning. (Photography: Adrienne Rose)

By Mitch Allen

There is a popular meme going around right now that reads:

“I don’t know the secret to happiness, but I tell you, I’ve never been unhappy in a Mexican restaurant.”

Nowhere is this notion more apt than at Fairlawn’s Tito’s Mexican Grill. Yes, it may be the tequila that engenders such joy, but it’s also the festive nature of Latin American culture, and the gregarious personalities of the Tito’s staff in particular.

The Very Model of a Modern Major Remodel
Tito’s interior has recently undergone an utter transformation. Gone are those old, hand-carved wooden benches, replaced by neutral gray booths with rich leather seats and tabletops of white cultured stone. The effect is mirrored in the bar with a quartz bar top and glass shelves aglow with colorful LED lights.

The new ambience is thoroughly modern and—combined with the hand-painted mural in the dining room, featuring four faces in Día de los Muertos make-up—it’s also dramatic and exotic.

The team at Tito’s includes (left to right) 15-year veteran server Miguel Martinez, Oscar Ayala, and co-owner and general manager Arny Ayala.
Tito’s Fajitas feature your choice of many different meats and fresh vegetables.
Popular menu items include a dozen different varieties of ultra-authentic street tacos.

Jalisco-style Cuisine
“We serve Jalisco-style cuisine,” explains Arnoldo “Arny” Ayala, co-owner and general manager who grew up in Jalisco, Mexico, on the west coast near Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. “That means we serve more meat dishes and feature more diverse vegetables. Many Mexican restaurants stick with tomatoes and peppers, but we also use onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini.”

Tito’s is a scratch kitchen. “We make our refried beans every morning starting with whole pinto beans and black beans. We don’t just open a can,” Arny says. “And we make our own homemade organic chicken stock every morning, too. We use it to flavor many of our dishes.”

Popular items include the authentic street tacos. “These can be shredded beef barbacoa, carne asada, grilled chicken and steak, chorizo, bacon, and fried or grilled fish,” Arny says. “This is what I mean when I say Jalisco-style cuisine uses more meat.”

Also popular are the authentic chile rellenos with fresh poblano peppers and the Pina Loca, which is chicken, steak, chorizo, and carnitas mixed on the grill with onions and peppers and served in a pineapple shell. Or you can keep it healthy with Tito’s Salmon—grilled salmon with Yucatan vegetables, served with Mexican rice and a creamy chipotle sauce on top.

Many dishes come with your choice of tortillas—soft flour or hard or soft corn. And now for the margaritas.

Si, por favor!

Signature Margaritas
Although Tito’s offers affordable margaritas made with high-quality mixes, I don’t mess around. I go straight for the Signatures. “Our classic Signature margarita is made with fresh-squeezed orange and lime juice,” Arny explains. “We hand-squeeze the oranges and limes after you order. We then add orange liqueur, organic agave nectar and silver tequila.”

Other popular Tito’s margaritas are the Paloma, which includes the addition of fresh grapefruit and Tajin (a classic Mexican chile lime seasoning) and the Spicy Cilantro Jalapeño with its fresh jalapeño twist.

Tito’s offers daily specials, lunch specials, takeout, off-premise catering, and all the popular online delivery services.

Arny co-owns Tito’s along with Alejandro Martinez, and his cousin Guillermo Ayala. The team also owns and operates El Jalapeños in Barberton, El Meson in Cuyahoga Falls, and a second Tito’s in Coventry.

Tito’s Mexican Grill is at 25 Ghent Road in Fairlawn (at the corner of Crawfis and Merz). For reservations or takeout, visit TitosFairlawn.com or call 330-835-9801.