Not very many people get inspired by tacos served out of the back of a nondescript van. But when Nacho Mama's Street Taqueria founder Ray bit into one of those freshly prepared tacos, he found his calling: make quality Mexican food. After attending Le Cordon Bleu, he began serving tacos from the back of his own food truck. Now, he's got his own restaurant.
Each taco, burrito, or rice bowl comes with your choice of meat, such as pork cooked with green chilies, chicken in a chipotle sauce, and traditional braised carnitas. For vegetarians, there's roasted corn and poblanos instead. The final product is paired with a side of chips and salsa. Meals can be washed down with Jarritos soda, which comes in an array of unique flavors, much like jelly beans after merging with that spice company.
Village Taqueria & Tequila Bar, formerly known as Lime Taqueria, balances a menu of tacos, burritos, and Mexican entrees with tangy sips from the large tequila and cocktail list and rakes in praise from publications such as the Marietta Daily Journal. Chef Oscar Mendivil runs the kitchen, where he perfects the culinary art of tacos with perfectly braised barbacoa, fire-roasted poblano chilies, and grilled shrimp. The burrito de langosta—packed with sautéed lobster and manchego grits—makes fancy fare portable without the mess of wrapping crème brûlée in a sheet of gold leaf. A dozen margaritas and Latin cocktails grace the drink menu, sharing space with nearly 100 types of tequila.
An electric neon sign draws passersby inside this festive Mexican diner, where rustic décor surrounds savory dishes arrayed on tables. Flat-screen televisions offer the only hint the modern world still exists, as exposed brick walls, rough stone borders, and dark-brown tile distract diners from passing cars, smartphone screens, and androids comparing memory banks. On the restaurant's outdoor patio, patrons dine on traditionally prepared steaks, fluffy tortilla shells, and rich sauces while basking in the sunlight.
At first, Tin Drum Asia Café's rapid service and bright decor evoke the aromatic street stands of Hong Kong, where founder Steven Chan ate throughout his childhood. The traditional ambiance is no accident—the franchise's name also harks back to a bygone era, when a tin drummer would awaken citizens and regale them with current events as they ate the day’s first meal. The electronic kiosks dotting the café, however, plunk this traditional scene in the middle of a cyberpunk setting. They allow patrons to customize their orders based on taste preferences and nutritional content, accommodating dietary endeavors such as vegetarianism and weight-loss goals.
This merger of technology and urban convention reflects a penchant for edgy ideas that also affects the menu. Items inspired by the culinary techniques of Japan, China, Vietnam, and Thailand share space in the savory catalog, taking the form of street tacos, soups, and mango chicken, a take on the general tso's staple that's sweeter than a syrup-soaked army helmet. Music is the final ingredient that charges the atmosphere. Nation's Restaurant News reports that it typically plays at an energizing 120 beats per minute and was a factor in attracting the café's initial college crowds.
Springing from the mindparts of CEO and founder John Kunkel, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill combines the tasty flavor of Mexican fare with a dedication to healthy eating and responsible food sourcing. After cutting its teeth in the mean streets of Miami's South Beach, Lime Fresh spread its delicious message across the country, stuffing organic beans, colorful veggies, homemade salsas, and humanely raised meats into tortillas made from non-GMO corn and flour. Chefs grill quesadillas, roll burritos, and sizzle fajitas before customers' eyes, and they can easily convert each item on the menu into a vegetarian-friendly feast or a makeshift futon. As guests content themselves with mouthfuls of flavorful tacos, fresh salads, and cheesy scoops of nachos, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill's dedicated staff works hard behind the scenes to build strong community relationships through contributions to local charities and nonprofits.
At Blu Canitna, chefs play with the traditional flavors of the Caribbean and Latin America to create inventive fusion dishes. They toss wings in spicy peach-bourbon sauce, and they put an upscale twist on beef brisket tacos by adding a dollop of creme fraiche infused with cilantro. They also turn plates of nachos and quesadillas into hearty meals by topping them with proteins such as brisket, tilapia, and smoked chicken. These all pair with aromatic hookahs and an extensive drink menu that showcases margaritas in unique flavors such as Sassy Strawberry Sriracha, which tastes like a combination of spicy chilies and alliteration.