15 Mexican Restaurants Still Offering Free Chips and Salsa

These places still offer free food for the cheap and the hungry
Updated April 24, 2024
Fact checked
happy senior couple at mexican restaurant

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While freebies like plastic bags and extra sauce on the side are becoming a thing of the past, there's still one glorious exception: the complimentary chips and salsa at many restaurants.

While some places have given up on this delightful tradition, these restaurants still offer a basket of warm chips and fiery salsa to kick off your meal and keep more cash in your wallet.

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On the Border

billtster/Adobe On the border restaurant from outside

When you dine in, On the Border gives you free chips and salsa. If you just can’t get enough, their chips are available in grocery stores. Even better, you can also get free chips and guacamole when you join their rewards program.

El Chico

istetiana/Adobe salsa and tortilla chips on table

This beloved Texas restaurant was founded in 1890 when the Cuellar family migrated to Texas from Mexico. 

Since then, it has added several locations in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, all of which provide patrons with their delicious free chips and salsa.

El Torito

Joshua Resnick/Adobe couple eating tacos at mexican restaurant

This upscale Mexican chain has restaurants up and down the California coastline. You can order food online, but to get your free chips and salsa, you’ll have to dine in at one of their 25 locations.

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Chevy’s Fresh Mex

Marcos/Adobe woman eating mexican tacos at restaurant

Though several of its locations have closed, there are still 17 Chevy’s Fresh Mex restaurants in California, South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia, and New Jersey — all ready to welcome you with fresh chips and salsa.

Casa Ole

MSPhotographic/Adobe Chips and salsa at table

With 15 locations in Texas and one in Louisiana, Casa Ole offers not only free chips and salsa but also free dessert for joining the rewards program. You’ll also receive a free gift on your birthday. ¡Feliz cumpleaños!

El Charro Cafe

Katrin Kovac/Adobe couple dating at mexican restaurant

As the oldest Mexican restaurant owned by one family, El Charro Cafe has four locations in Arizona, including one at the Tuscon airport. 

On top of tasty free chips and salsa, Founder Monica Flin is credited as the inventor of the chimichanga, so you know it’s got to be delicious.

Carlos O’Kelly’s

Olga Miltsova/Adobe salsa dip and nachos tortilla chips

With “O’Kelly’s” in the name, you might suspect that the term “Mexican” is applied loosely to this midwestern restaurant — and rightly so. 

In addition to burritos and enchiladas (and free chips and salsa), they offer casseroles to-go, steak, chicken fingers, and mac ‘n’ cheese.


fahrwasser/Adobe Red tomato spicy salsa with chips

Unlike most of these chains, Abuelo’s was started by three gringos — with the help of Chef Luis Sanchez. 

And with locations across Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida, Arkansas, Kansas, South Carolina, and Tennessee, you’re never too far from free chips and salsa at Abuelo’s.

Cantina Laredo

Fotograf/Adobe bowl of salsa with tortillas

This chain spans six U.S. states, including Arkansas, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Missouri, and Minnesota. In addition to free salsa and chips, you can sign up for their e-Club and get a free appetizer. Reward members can also score a free dessert on their birthday.

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istetiana/Adobe salsa and tortilla chips on table

The origin of Azteca is a classic rags-to-riches story of Jose “Pepe” Ramos, who moved his family to the U.S. and worked multiple jobs to save enough to start a restaurant in Burien, Washington. The chain now has numerous locations across Washington State.


AIproduction/Adobe cheerful Friends Uniting over Tasty Tacos

Gringos offers not one but two types of free salsa with your chips. When you dine in, you’ll be treated to red and green salsa at any of their Texas locations.

El Rodeo

Marcos/Adobe mexican people eating taco al pastor

Each of the eight El Rodeo restaurants in Pennsylvania is family-owned and operated. If free chips and salsa when you dine in aren’t enough, join their rewards program to get 10% off takeout orders placed online.

La Plaza

Shanorsila/Adobe Mexican nacho chips and salsa dip

This chain has six locations across the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma, and salsa tasty enough to make a meal on its own. Many of the towns that host La Plaza restaurants are remote, but they’re worth the drive for the chips and salsa.


Firn/Adobe Tortilla chips on plate with salsa

This restaurant has two Georgia locations. In addition to free chips and salsa and the standard Mexican fare, they have several vegetarian options. And you definitely won't want to miss their churros.


pilipphoto/Adobe chef giving taco to man outdoor

With over a dozen locations across the East Coast, Margaritas (understandably) has an extensive menu of cocktails. Check out their margarita of the month, along with your chips and salsa.

Bottom line

Natalia Klenova/Adobe woman eating taco at food court

Unlike many things these days, chips and salsa at sit-down Mexican restaurants continue to be a delightful perk.

Savor these complimentary bites while you explore the menu, and use your best rewards credit card to save even more on your delicious and affordable dining experience.

¡Buen provecho!

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Author Details

Jenni Sisson Jenni Sisson is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on personal finance, real estate, and entrepreneurship. She has been published in Business Insider and The Ways to Wealth. In addition to writing, Jenni hosts the Mama's Money Map podcast to help fellow stay-at-home moms on their journey to financial freedom.

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