by Nancy Stiles
The celebrated Mission Taco Joint (6235 Delmar Boulevard; 314-932-5430) is working on opening a second location in Soulard, but it's still going to be an exciting spring at its existing location. Right now, as you walk down Delmar Boulevard, you can see staff crafting the housemade tortillas through the window. Rumor had it that the brothers Tilford were planning a bodega in the space, but the idea was abandoned when Global Foods began moving in down the street.
See also: Mission Taco Joint Coming to Soulard
Now, that space has been turned into a mini bar and evening waiting area, and it will even be used for tequila and mezcal tastings. We talked to co-owner Adam Tilford about the updates at Mission and whether tequila is the new whiskey.
"We built a little bar and will use it as a waiting area in the evenings, where people can get bottled beer, margaritas and a couple of our other cocktails while they wait on a table in the main dining room. We will not be seating people in there to dine, as there is no restroom," Tilford explains. "As the waiting area in the main dining room is small, this should help do eliminate congestion at the bar and walkways during peak times."
Mission has also added a takeout window in the side bar so you can stop in, place a to-go order and perhaps enjoy a drink or two while you wait. Craft cocktails are having a moment in St. Louis, and from the beginning Mission Taco has embraced the trend with housemade syrups and fresh-squeezed juices. There's a classic margarita, too, which at Mission is made with blanco tequila, agave nectar, lime juice and dry orange curaçao.
Tilford doesn't have a timeline yet for the tequila and mezcal tastings, but the idea is to contribute to the growing awareness of the spirits. Mezcal is a spirit similar to tequila, but it's made from the maguey plant, which is a form of agave.
"I think it already is [a trend], it's just that it's only now hitting St. Louis," Tilford says. "A lot of people are creating completely new cocktails, and of course doing some fun spins on classics substituting those spirits."
Everyone is all about whiskey tastings right now, but as the warm weather creeps in (we're seriously counting down the days), we could definitely go for some craft tequila.
"The bottom line of the tastings is to create awareness of the spirits and try to change the public opinion that tequila, and mezcal, for its part, isn't just that stuff we got really bad hangovers from in college," Tilford says, "but that they truly are quality spirits with a rich history in Mexico."