Off the Rails Mexican Cantina

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Downtown Buford’s newest restaurant combines Mexican cuisine with history for a unique dining experience.

By Alicia Carter | Photos by Camie Pew

Downtown Buford’s newest culinary gem, Off the Rails Mexican Cantina, has emerged as a vibrant addition to the local culinary scene with its unique blend of Mexican cuisine and historical charm. Spearheaded by the visionary duo behind the beloved Bare Bones Steakhouse, Buddy and Gaye Maughon, the restaurant pays homage to the downtown area’s rich history while also bringing a much-needed Mexican restaurant to the area. Plus, Buddy’s extensive knowledge and experience with delivering quality meat, as evidenced by Bare Bones’ popularity and stellar reputation, adds another layer of refinement to the menu.

Buddy and Gaye Maughon

The Maughons’ keen eye for quality and a penchant for honoring local history is evident in the collection of artifacts and memorabilia peppered throughout the space. Stepping into Off the Rails is like stepping back in time, as patrons are surrounded by an impressive assortment of objects from the building’s storied past, such as one surprise Buddy stumbled upon: a collection of manuals for a 1922 Fordson tractor found tucked away in the building.

Ever the treasure collectors, Buddy and Gaye were able to track down the exact tractor from the manuals — the very tractor that is now secured above the bar, acting as a grand centerpiece to the dining room. Other treasures include large stained glass panels filling the windows of the front of the building that Gaye found at an architectural salvage facility in Springfield, Tennessee; theater lights from an old theater in Cleveland, Ohio, that date back to the ’20s; a canoe hand-carved by Native Americans dating back to the 1700s; a portion of a railroad track from the very tracks across the streets that have found a home below the bar; and in a nod to the building’s original tannery history, leather pieces that Buddy found in the building now hang framed on one of the walls. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Maughons have truly crafted an eclectic space that allows diners to discover something new at every visit.

Authentic Flavors
Complementing the historical ambiance is the culinary stewardship of Chef Leticia Ozuna, whose traditional recipes transport diners to the vibrant streets of Mexico. Dishes include staples such as fajitas, tostadas, burritos, and quesadillas, as well as chile rellenos, barbacoa, and flautas. Be sure to start your meal with the Cowboy Queso, topped with black beans, chorizo, and ground beef. It’s a hearty take on the classic queso starter. The street corn, featuring roasted corn and peppers topped with Mexican crema and queso fresco, is another don’t-miss item on the menu. Kids will enjoy quesadillas and tacos, corn dogs, and chicken tenders.

Buddy’s decades-long experience in the meat industry ensures top-quality dishes. “Buddy’s a meatman with 65 years experience in the meat industry,” Gaye says. “So we knew that we could bring really good meat to a Mexican restaurant. At Off the Rails, you can order your meat to your desired temperature, which is rare for a Mexican restaurant. Everything comes in fresh and we make everything from scratch.”

Off the Rails also has a fantastic bar program featuring some of the best margaritas in town. They approach their drinks in the same way they approach the food menu, using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Each day, the staff juices fresh fruits to be used in all of the drinks — another reason why the margaritas have already garnered a fantastic reputation.

As Buddy and Gaye Maughon look to the future, they envision Off the Rails becoming synonymous with exceptional food and hospitality, just as they’ve established at Bare Bones Steakhouse. “We just want to be known for really great food and great service,” Gaye says. With its blend of culinary excellence, historical charm, and warm hospitality, Off the Rails is poised to do just that.

Off the Rails Mexican Cantina is located at 107 E. Main St. N.E. in Buford. For more information visit OfftheRailsMexicanCantina.com.

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