When I first started going to St. Mary’s as a freshmen, I rarely ventured outside the shadow of the Great Room when it came to food. Stranded without a car and naive enough to think that the only restaurants in the area were chains, the only times I would eat off campus were occasional trips to Chipotle or Panera when I tagged along on a shopping trip. After the painful demise of the Upper Deck and Quiznos (a loss I don’t think the campus has fully recovered from yet) and the shiny alfredo-dripping sheen of the campus food service wore off, I began to venture slightly beyond the main drag in Lexington Park, rife with chain restaurants and traffic from the Naval base. Years of exploration and suggestions from the more adventurous upperclassmen have made me realize that despite being an isolated peninsula, St. Mary’s County has a surprisingly wide range of different ethnic food options and excellent restaurants in all price ranges to offer. One of my favorite finds is Salsas Mexican Cafe in Leonardtown.
Just past the campus of the College of Southern Maryland, Salsas, like so many great hidden gems in the area, sits in an unassuming shopping center. It has a lively and bright atmosphere that stands in stark contrast to the drab concrete of the other shops. The service is always fast and friendly, and they manage to ensure that no one has to wait long for a table.
When I first went to Salsas with a few friends I wasn’t expecting much beyond any run-of-the-mill Mexican restaurant that’s clearly far away from Mexico. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the food was delicious and fresh with prices that are simply unbeatable on a college student’s budget. We went for lunch and were greeted by a huge selection of lunch combinations, all under $7.00, that give the perfect amount of food and taste for the price. We didn’t order drinks because of the time of day, but other tables were enjoying large margaritas from their full bar. The rest of the expansive menu offered all of the Mexican favorites for equally great prices.
For students whose only disposable income is often set aside for textbooks and beer, Salsas is a guilt-free choice to mix things up at lunch or dinner.