The untold truth of On The Border

If you've ever partaken in a Margarita Monday, Taco Tuesday, or Fiesta Friday, then chances are you've spent many a night at On The Border Mexican Cantina & Grill. Nothing quite beats a $5 bucket — ahem, glass – on the rocks, whether it's salty or sweet. But how much do you really know about the classic Mexican chain?

According to On The Border's official site, the casual restaurant was born in 1982 when three friends had a little too much tequila and a lot of big ideas. The mission was simple: bring fresh, border-style Mexican fare to the states. The site details how the first OTB location opened up in Dallas. Thanks to the salty margs and homemade tortillas, the new spot on the corner of Knox and Travis became a hit and business grew. Restaurant News reports that as of 2020, On The Border housed 150 locations in the US and Asia.

On The Border has always been innovative

On The Border set out to make Mexican restaurants as lively as the flavors they were serving up. Houston Historic Retail profiled the chain, noting that the goal was to bring a cool and trendy to traditionally dim and serious Mexican restaurants. The outlet states that in the '80s, the Houston area had a clear divide in their Mexican cuisine. Half the restaurants were authentic, while the other half were American-owned and less genuine. On The Border succeeded because it was a mix of the two and helped lessen that divide.

While the restaurant has become more standard in the years since then, the chain still sets out to offer creative and cheap options for its customers. In 2018, OTB one-upped the fierce Tex-Mex chain National Margarita Day competition by serving up $2 margaritas for nearly the entire month of February (via PR Newswire). And according to Restaurant News, On the Border also featured $5 burrito boxes in 2016. The best part? They came packed with their famous chips and salsa.

On The Border isn't exactly healthy eating

While some popular Mexican fare can actually be pretty healthy, don't be fooled: On The Border doesn't offer much that will fit in your health goals if you're looking to eat in moderation. Men's Health even named it America's worst Mexican chain because of its fried protein options and copious amounts of cream and cheese. The magazine reports that the popular Tres Enchilada dinner comes to a whopping 1,600 calories! That's hard to fit into any slightly strict meal plan.

If you wanted to enjoy some On The Border favorites at home to keep a better tab on your portion sizes, then check out their retail selection of products. It's often forgotten that the dine-in chain sells an entire line in grocery stores. OTB offers nine kinds of chips, featuring every flavor from Tajin to Zesty Ranch, reports FSR Magazine. Grab yourself a bag and bring it home if you're trying to avoid the inevitable second (or third) round of OTB chips and salsa!