Bear Bites: Polly’s La Mesa


Image: Justin Baxley

Polly’s La Mesa was founded in 1976 and prides itself on its house-made salsa which it sells by the jar at the front counter. The eatery caters to a local crowd and offers large portions at fair prices. Above are their Tamales covered in a mix of cheddar cheese and white cheese. The dish is served sides of rice and beans.

Nicholas Wooten, Managing Editor

Polly’s La Mesa is not somewhere you’d expect a college kid to sit down and order. It’s only about two and a half miles from Mercer University, but it feels a world away and untouched by time.

Most of the tables are filled with the elderly and local police officers. The TV in the corner is an old, bulbous box with color-coded inputs on the front. You can hear Fox News in the distance. It looks like someone stretched your grandmother’s living room to fill an entire restaurant.

Polly’s has been around since 1976, and though it may show, there’s a good reason. From its house-made salsas to its attentive staff, Polly’s demonstrates why it has staying power.


Fried Jalapeños:

Normally, I’m not a fan of the jalapeño. I’ve never had a meal where I thought it was a must. But when these slices of jalapeño were fried and covered in ranch, I couldn’t stop eating. The more I ate, the more my mouth burned, but I couldn’t stop.


We went through nearly two baskets of chips, and the salsa is mostly to blame. Be warned: this house-made mixture will burn you slowly. It’s spicier than Justin or I anticipated.


It looked like a Mexican lasagna more than your traditional tamale. I asked for a mixture of the white cheese sauce and cheddar. I got it. The ground beef was well-cooked, and the tamale itself was spongy and firm. Polly’s taco sauce over the top of this dish is a must.


I had enough food for two meals, and I didn’t break the bank.


The House Special:

The dish was overpowered by the large chunks of onion in concentrated areas. Justin was so bothered that he began to pick out pieces as the meal progressed.

The BAD:

Television: They had Fox News playing.


Nick: 4/5

Justin: 4/5