Pancho's Mexican Buffet is a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants (28 as of January 2007) in the United States. The bulk of the restaurants are in Texas; a few restaurants are also located in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Pancho's main offering is an all you care to eat buffet, though unlike many other such buffets additional food is brought by waitstaff rather than self-served. Pancho's also offers takeout service. The first Pancho's restaurant opened in El Paso, Texas in 1958. The Corpus Christi, Texas Location opened up in the 1960s. The company relocated to Fort Worth, Texas in 1966. At one time Pamex, the parent company of Pancho's, also operated a seafood restaurant called the Spanish Galleon. When the Galleon line of restaurants closed, at least some of them were converted into Pancho's restaurants. The current president of the company is Marty Adler. The Buffet Restaurant has decreased in size in big way in the last 10 years. From 1995-2007 they've gone from 50 locations to 28 locations. The most current loss in the business in the Location in Texarkana, Texas.
Pancho's food items include tacos, flautas, enchiladas, tamales, rice, refried beans, and many other traditional Tex-Mex items. Special items like fajitas may be available on certain days at a particular location. Sopaipillas have been served for dessert since the restaurant's beginnings; in the 1990s most locations also began offering a dessert bar with ice cream and other more traditional American fare. In the early 2000s many restaurants revised the recipes for several items in order to offer a low fat menu, including the same traditional items with low fat cheese and several new offerings.
While best known for their all you can eat format, Pancho's has also offered a limited item plate (usually serving rice, beans, and a choice of four other items), as well as other special plates such as a taco salad. Pancho's is also famous for having all you can eat customers "raise the flag" to request more food; each table has a small tricolored flag with the three colors of the flag of Mexico. (The flag, however, is missing the Mexican coat of arms, and thus more closely resembles the Italian flag.) The food was also reasonably priced, and the dining room was decorated in the motif of a courtyard. One could also listen to mariachi music that was played on the restaurant's sound system, which lent more authenticity to the décor. Additionally, several locations also sold a limited line of products that customers could purchase and make their own sopapillas, tacos, etc. at home, as well as a small selection of piñatas that could be used for parties or other decorating reasons.
For several years, customers would pay their bill at the exit, but in the 1990s (approximately), they moved the main cashier to the end of the serving line.
For those who were in a rush or preferred to eat their meal at home, Pancho's also had a take-out store with a separate entrance from that of the dining area.
Though very popular, damage caused by Hurricane Katrina forced the location in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, to close permanently. The building in which it was housed, Rosedale Mall, was torn down and was replaced by a branch of the Circuit City appliance and electronics chain.
The Mansfield Road location in Shreveport, Louisiana, now the site of a Posadas restaurant, once employed serial killer Danny Rolling. There is currently a location in nearby Bossier City, Louisiana, according to the latest information on the Pancho's website (see external link below).