The mother of all tacos has arrived.
Tacon Madre, which means “mother of all tacos” in Spanish, recently opened at 3501 S. Division Ave. in Wyoming, complete with a drive-through window. The casual urban Mexican food eatery offers counter service (no waitstaff) and authentic Mexican cuisine, with a few curve balls thrown in.
The restaurant had a soft opening June 20, and business has been increasing steadily, with Tuesdays and Sundays being the busiest, according to owner Martha Hernandez.
Hernandez started the endeavor with her significant other, Leoe Vasquez, a graphic artist who also owns Outlaw Roasted Corn food truck, which he takes to fairs, carnivals and festivals.
Tacos range from al pastor to carne asada to chicken and are served with chips and salsa and a variety of aguas frescas. In addition to tacos, there are chilaquiles, tortas, flautas, pizza birria, quesabirria, fajitas, burritos and churros in ice cream.
Less conventional items include the Mexiburger, an eight-ounce beef patty topped with ham, cheese, avocado, tomato, onions, lettuce, mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup served on a Mexican-style burger bun with waffle fries. There’s also Japanese birria ramen noodles, as well.
Hernandez began her career in her home kitchen, making food and selling it to family. Her recipes are a combination of old family secrets enhanced by tips she gleaned from watching hours of cooking videos on YouTube. After a lot of trial and error she came up with the current menu, and she said she’s very pleased.
What makes some of Hernandez’s dishes unique is she uses a grill to cook the carne asada and the chicken, which gives it much better flavor, she said. Her birria (a blend of three different types of meat) is slow-cooked in spices for seven hours.
Aguas frescas are made with fresh fruit and line the service counter in big clear vats that show off the colorful beverages.
Hernandez said she and Vasquez traveled around the country and visited restaurants in Las Vegas, New Orleans, Texas, Illinois, Tennessee and Wisconsin to get ideas for the Grand Rapids establishment.
Another highlight of visiting the eatery is its contemporary design, bright colors and nod to Mexican pop culture icons such as Cantinflas, El Santo, Frida Kahlo, Selena and characters from Mexican sitcom “El Chavo del Ocho.” Images by Vasquez of these figures adorn the walls.
Though the restaurant is open for business and has been serving food for more than a month, Hernandez said she won’t be ready for a grand opening until she’s had a chance to listen to her customers and respond to requests. She said she’s trying to work out how to serve roasted corn, for which her partner’s food truck is known, and get some more decor on the walls. The restaurant’s website is not yet up, so online orders and food delivery services such as DoorDash will have to wait.
The restaurant is open for dine-in and drive-through customers. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.