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Tacos and Tequila

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Written by our photographer, Amber Deery

I was introduced to Tacos & Tequila in Overland Park a few months ago by a friend who knew Mexican restaurants were one of my go-to choices for a night out, whether it was for a date night, time with the girls or with my kids. I’ve found myself making a weekly – or more often – excursion to this friendly, welcoming community cantina for the creativity and variety of their menu.

For our tasting, we were welcomed by the host, and I immediately felt that she and our server would recognize us and remember us on our next visit. The interior vibe is bright and colorful and it’s clearly family friendly; we noted several tables with children working on coloring sheets while waiting for their meal to arrive.

“We are a family-owned restaurant, and we feel that detail is integral to our identity,” said Luis Morales, co-owner with his brother, Juan Carlos Morales. “We want our guests to feel that they are a part of that family. We consider our staff members family, too, whether they’re related to us or not. This is so important to us that we are closed on Sundays so that we can all rest and reset with family and have time for worship.”

A company-wide conviction is that food has the power to bring us together. And it certainly has this cold, snowy early evening in January, with most seats filled. I see a number of folks who have become regulars, as I have. Since it’s frigid outside, we begin with the soups, guaranteed to take off the chill. The Pozole, a hearty traditional soup, features hominy, pork, onions, jalapenos and just the right combination of spices. It’s garnished with lettuce and radish, served with corn chips. The Sopa de Tortilla is luscious and satisfying, shredded chicken in a spicy broth topped with tortilla strips, avocado and cotija cheese. Both are just right for a light meal or first course.

And since we’re at Tacos & Tequila, we must discuss the amazing selection of tacos. Diners have a wide choice, from chicken, steak, pork, birria and vegetarian fillings. First up were the Tacos Cochinita Pibil. Cochinita pibil is a traditional Mexican slow-cooked pork dish, marinated in citrus juice and achiote paste, then shredded for the tacos. No recipe secrets were divulged, but this is a very tasty choice that’s served with corn tortillas, pickled onions and cilantro. Skinny Tacos contain tilapia, chipotle sauce, pico de gallo and avocado, wrapped in lettuce, for a light touch. And for those giving up meat for a while, the Tacos Vegetarianos are corn tortillas overflowing with zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, spinach, onions and bell peppers, garnished with cilantro.

We can’t overlook some house specialties that we observed headed to other tables. Chilaquiles Rojos sizzled with steak, creamy ranchero sauce, onions, sour cream and an egg over easy accompanied by homemade fried chips, a visual and olfactory delight. The Wet Burrito can be ordered with a choice of barbacoa, al pastor, cochinita, chicken or carne asada; it’s served with rice, refried beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, lime crema, guacamole, enchilada sauce and cheese sauce. It’s satisfying and suitable for sharing. The table next to us had two early teen boys who were thoroughly enjoying their Carne Asada Fries, potato fries loaded with carne asada, queso fresco, cheese sauce, chipotle sauce, sour cream, guacamole and cilantro.

I love Mexican flavors, yet I’m not an enthusiastic cook, so I asked our gracious server to fill us in on the descriptions of the meat in the dishes. Al pastor, meaning shepherd-style, is thinly sliced marinated pork roasted on a spit with pineapple. Cochinita is pork shoulder cooked slowly in a marinade with achiote and citrus juice. Barbacoa, Spanish for barbecue, is a typically made with beef, traditionally seasoned with dried chilies and spices and slowly cooked until tender over an open fire or fire pit. These descriptions will direct me in the future to the flavorful choices of tacos at Tacos & Tequila.

Now, for dessert! They’re all tempting, from the homemade brownie to the sopapillas, topped with butter, honey and cinnamon. We tasted the flan, a traditional Mexico City-style creme caramel custard dessert with a layer of clear caramel sauce, and the churros, fried dough pastry stuffed with dulce de leche, both creamy enough to satisfy any sweet tooth. On my next visit, I’m looking forward to the Xango, creamy cheesecake wrapped in a pastry tortilla, fried until flaky and dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with ice cream.

Tacos & Tequila’s bar is stocked with a full complement of tequilas for your tasting pleasure; for variety, you might try one of the tequila flights from six well-known distillers. Margaritas have the same variety, with a choice of lime, strawberry, raspberry, mango, peach, watermelon, piña colada and tropical. Also visually interesting is the Blue Margarita, crafted from Hornitos Plata, triple sec, Gran Gala orange liqueur, orange juice, sweet and sour and blue curaçao.

“We embrace our authentic selves to truly connect with you, making each meal an experience,” Luis affirms. “We always remember where we came from and our responsibility to our community, and we seek to welcome people in, let them know that they belong, feed them well and maintain that positive connection in hopes that they pass it on.”

Tacos & Tequila more than surpasses that aspiration. When the staff responds to “thank you” by saying “anything for family,” it makes guests know they’ve found that place of connection, hospitality and the feeling of being at home.

Visit Tacos & Tequila at 7901 W. 151st St., Overland Park, Kansas. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Closed Sundays. Call 913-413-0051 and visit for menu previews.