It’s lunchtime, but it’s cold, wet and rainy outside. You’re craving some authentic Mexican restaurant food, but you just don’t don’t want to leave the cozy confines of your car. Never fear, Tacon Madre, an urban Mexican eatery, located at 3501 S. Division Ave., offers just the sort of food you’re after, with the convenience of a drive-through window.
Tacon Madre, which means “Mother of all tacos” in Spanish, is the brainchild of Martha Hernandez. She started the endeavor with her significant other, Leoe Vasquez. a graphic artist who owns a food truck that serves roasted corn.
Hernandez’s recipes are a combination of old family secrets enhanced by tips she gleaned from watching hours of cooking videos on YouTube. She uses a grill to make the carne asada and the chicken, which she says give it much better flavor. Her birria
(a blend of three different types of meat) is so flavorful and tender because it is slow- cooked in spices for at least seven hours.
Most dishes she serves offer a choice of protein; pork, steak, chicken, chorizo, birria, shrimp and arrachera. The tacos are as authentically Mexican as it gets and served with tortilla chips and salsa.
Chilaquiles, tortas, flautas, pizza birria, quesabirria, fajitas, burritos, churros in ice cream and a variety of agua frescas made with fresh fruit round out the authentically Mexican menu. Another must-try is the Mexiburger; an extra large eight-ounce beef patty topped with ham, cheese, avocado, tomato, onions, lettuce, mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup. It’s served on an extra large Mexican-style burger bun with a side of fries. It’s big and juicy so you might have to pull over to eat this one. Also, it’s not on the exterior menu, but you can order it at the drive through. You just have to ask.
For the adventurous there’s a Japanese birria ramen noodle soup.
If you’re not in a hurry, the interior of the restaurant, with its contemporary design and bright colors, is a sight to behold. Artful images of Mexican pop culture icons like Cantinflas, El Santo, Frida Kahlo, Selena and characters from the iconic Mexican sitcom El Chavo del Ocho adorn the walls; striking and stylistic artistic creations by the restaurant’s co-owner, Vasquez. It’s set up like a typical fast food restaurant, with counter (as opposed to table) service. Hernandez said she and Vasquez visited restaurants in Las Vegas, New Orleans, Texas, Illinois and Tennessee for inspiration and it shows.