The Orchard Lounge is McAllen’s newest hotspot for foodies, tempting the Valley’s insatiable appetite for great cocktails, a culturally crafted menu and a relaxed, artful vibe.
The team at Orchard Lounge endeavors to create an environment that anyone would fall in love with. “We want every cocktail, every single dish to come out as a work of art,” said Stephanie Ramirez, co-owner of Orchard Lounge. “If you’re looking for something unique, great cocktails and food that looks like a work of art, then this is a great place for you.”
Situated on the busy corner of Business 83 and 11th Street in the heart of McAllen, Orchard Lounge’s floor-to-ceiling windows cover the facade of the establishment, giving diners a view of the city’s bustling midtown. “The venue alone is gorgeous,” said Kristina Garza, a McAllen native who visited the restaurant for the first time. “It’s a great mix of elegant and modern decor with an edgy flair.”
In spite of the crystal chandeliers and chic atmosphere, Orchard Lounge manages to create a casual environment for anyone who enjoys good food, drinks, and an outdoor dining experience.
Orchard Lounge features a category in their menu labeled Amongst Friends. Ideally, a group of diners order a variety of plates to share and sample different flavors. For example, the Tomahawk steak, known as “El Jefe,” is a 32 oz monster, thinly sliced and served with an assortment of vegetables, roasted potatoes, and house sauces.
“If you’re looking for something unique, great cocktails and food that looks like a work of art, then this is a great place for you.”
The Orchard Lounge’s creative menu also features its infamous Concha Burger, which blends shitaki mushrooms, chorizo and beef into its patty, topped with homemade strawberry fig jam, chipotle aioli, egg fried in duck fat, applewood bacon, and string mushrooms. Finally, the quixotic medley of ingredients is held together by a concha breakfast pastry (classic Mexican pan dulce), which serves as the bun.
“People are apprehensive about it and once they try it, they can’t deny that it’s the best burger they’ve ever had,” Stephanie said. “It really is amazing; the flavors blend so well and it’s unique.”
Valley-ites are lucky when it comes to booze – there are plenty of McAllen drinking establishments to choose from. Although you can pop in just about anywhere and find a margarita with an upside-down beer inside, Orchard Lounge’s drink menu goes far beyond that. There you will find a small but sophisticated list of wine and beer, and an array of mixed drinks crafted by experienced bartenders who certainly know what they’re doing.
“We like to think of our bartenders as therapists,” said Stephanie. “There’s something soothing about the sound of mixing and shaking a cocktail. People get a big smile when they know their drink will be made with skill and love.”
The classic cocktails are expertly mixed, but the real treat lies in Orchard Lounge’s Margarita Flights, a sampler of bartender-choice drinks with flavors that range from Hibiscus mint to Pineapple basil.
While the property on which The Orchard Lounge sits may have changed hands over the past few years, the owners don’t pretend to know what the future has in store for them. “When we built the Orchard Lounge, we built it to last for decades,” said Stephanie. “We’re all about empowerment, and making McAllen and the Valley a better place to dine.”