Shortly after Stoley’s closed its doors on a 14-year-old business, Neil Waranch claimed the space as the future home of Cowboy Neil’s Tex-Mex Cantina. The Tejano-inspired grill opened in Virginia Beach’s Great Neck neighborhood last fall and now dishes out an eclectic mix of from-scratch, straddle-the-border eats.
In traditional cantina fashion, Cowboy Neil’s greets you with a roomy bar and handful of seat yourself tables. Delivered upon request is a basket of tri-color tortilla chips and housemade salsa served in a jalapeño-shaped dipping dish. The chips are mixed, dyed, cut and baked in house and are flavored with the perfect spattering of salt. Like its crunchy companions, the salsa is also entirely homemade and plays with tasty layers of sweet and heat.
The chalkboard specials menu hosts an array of rotating from-scratch bites as well, including a Philly cheesesteak taco, Mexican-Italian Cantizza, Cowboy Chili and a Crispy Extravaganza loaded with fried cactus, calamari and jalapeños. Other funky plates include a spicy dog, fajita burger and six Impossible creations laden with plant-based proteins.
On the main menu are Tex-Mex staples like burritos, fajitas, tortilla soup and tacos towering with Cowboy Neil’s tinga chicken—a juicy mixture of pulled meat tossed in adobo and fresh tomato sauce. The most popular cantina choice is one of four fajita bowl variations filled with rice, housemade refried or black beans, grilled onions, mixed peppers, guacamole, queso fresco and a hearty drizzle Cowboy Crema crafted with sour cream, lime zest and Waranch’s secret ingredient.
A Tex-Mex meal is of course incomplete without a salt-rimmed cocktail. Complementing classic margaritas are crafty libations like Cowboy Sangria, Jorny Hose, spiked Arnold Palmer and an assortment of wine and beer. Enjoy $1 off beer and $1.50 off wine and cocktails during Cowboy Neil’s daily happy hour from 2 to 6 p.m., or stop in on Sundays for all-day happy hour specials.
Cowboy Neil’s Tex Mex Cantina is located at 1408 N. Great Neck Rd., #105, Virginia Beach and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.