STL Area’s Newest Mexican Joint is Taqueria Z
Edwardsville, IL/May 29, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – The newest Mexican restaurant in the St. Louis area opened last November with the hope of creating quality Mexican street food for students at SIUE and others in the metro-east. Taqueria Z was so well received when it opened that the first few times they fired up the grill, the little Mexican joint ran out of food. And “joint” is the right word to describe this authentic taqueria in the heart of Edwardsville. It’s a small cube of a restaurant at 109 East Park Street, in a rehabbed garage. The place is clean, and has a definite Mexican vibe, but it’s small. Takeout is a mainstay of business at Taqueria Z, but that may change now that the weather is warming up. They have only a tiny counter space and a couple small tables for diners inside, but they have a nice patio with sail awnings and twinkle lights. The restaurant’s creation comes from an unlikely pairing.
Mike Zanger brings the authentic Mexican know-how. He visited Mexico for the first time at age 15, returned time and again, after falling in love with the culture and its cuisine. He lived in central Mexico for a few years, where he learned how to prepare authentic tacos and chacos. Now in his late 50s, Mike says starting the taqueria is his version of a “midlife crisis.” Issues with his health (liver cancer and a transplant in 2015) spurred him to stop putting off his dream, and create the life he wanted. Zach Miller brings business savvy to the partnership. He met Mike at acoustic concerts hosted at the Zanger’s rural Edwardsville home. It was there the two men struck up a friendship, and their they began making tacos together. At 32, Mike is the owner and publisher of the Main Street Beat, an advertising publication for the local Edwardsville community. He also owns an online-only business called Ziller Reptiles, that specializes in breeding and selling designer ball pythons and crested geckos.
Zach Miller spoke with BND.com last fall about some of the menu items at Taqueria Z.
In order to ensure the highest quality, everything is handmade from scratch using only fresh ingredients. They don’t even have a freezer on the premises. And the menu at Taqueria Z is simple, with a few starters, tacos, chacos, quesadillas, and margaritas. What’s a chaco? It’s a Taqueria Z original—a taco with chihuahua cheese toasted on a fresh corn tortilla. Tacos, chacos, and quesadillas are each available with a variety of craft meat options including carne asada, chorizo, pollo (free-range chicken) and al pastor (crisp-thin shavings of marinated, vertical spit-roasted pork. Vegetarian options include mushrooms and poblano y papas (a combination of poblano chile peppers and potatoes).
There are six taps offering craft beer, including a Mexican brown ale that’s the result of a collaboration with Recess Brewery (307 N Main St, Edwardsville). They also offer a selection of fine tequilas—even a signature margarita that’s made with just Corralejo Reposado tequila, cointreau, and lime juice. It’s very simple, but exceptional. They also offer non-alcoholic beverages, including bottled soda, both Mexican imports and locally produced varieties. They also offer teas and locally roasted Goshen coffee.
Ironically, it’s never Taco Tuesday at Taqueria Z, because they’re closed Mondays and Tuesdays. They are open Wednesday – Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Friday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. On Sundays mornings, they offer Bloody Maria’s (like a Bloody Mary, but with tequila). They also have a Sunday-only breakfast burrito made with poblano y papas, chorizo or a combination served in a rolled-up flour tortilla with eggs, Chihuahua cheese, rice, beans, cilantro, and onion. Fresh, authentic Mexican food and a tequila-laced cocktail might be just the hangover cure Guy Beringer (inventor of brunch) had in mind! Whether it’s Sunday brunch, drinks after work, or late night tacos, Edwardsville is eating up Taqueria Z.
Owners: Mike Zanger and Zach Miller
109 E Park Street
Edwardsville, IL 62025
Phone: (618) 307-5018