We love savvy restaurateurs who keep their finger on the pulse of their business and know when the tides of consumer sentiment have shifted.
We prayed that Backstage out in Spicewood would see the writing on the wall [ $23 cheeseburger? ] and reinterpret their menu to reflect changing times. They didn’t.
So it’s with enthusiasm that we greet the new Latin-tinged concept, Chonita’s, from Theresa Wilson, owner of Aquarelle.
Austin is in dire need of more Mexican food and no we’re not joking. We’re in the latter stages of a 49 part series on the state of tacos in Austin and the going was fairly rough.
Disturbing trends in modern Austin Mexican foods abound.
Overpriced tacos. We’re more than happy to pay $3 for a carnitas taco but certain factors must be incorporated or else we’re crying foul.
We want scratch, made per order tortillas.
Local provider El Milagro makes a fine commercial tortilla but it is in no way comparable to one from the comal of a talented tia.
The salsa needs to be notable. Too many current, favored taco sources serve watered down, flavor free sauces that probably appeal to recent ex pats from states with only a handful of Mexicans but Texans want the good stuff. Rich, deeply flavored and so soulful that they could be mistaken for a mole.
Local sourcing is important. If you’re going to charge $3 for one carnitas taco we want the assurance that that hog came from no further than Bell County Texas, he led a pampered life and was slaughtered in a humane fashion. Bonus points if you watered him with Pearl beer and made sure Doug Sahm was piped into his pig pen at night when he slumbered.
If you’re getting your pork shoulders from Sysco and going north of a $1.50 for your tacos you are out of line and you will not see dime one of our taco dollars.
We’re confident that these modern criteria will be met in full by Wilson. We loved the periodic French street food parties that Aquarelle threw in their back courtyard and can’t imagine anything less than delicious food coming from their kitchen.
Read more about Aquarelle here on the Eater
606 Rio Grande St