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Posts Tagged ‘Adam Tilford’

The Scoop: Mission Taco Joint adds a food truck to its ranks

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015


Adam Tilford knows how to take a hint. Enough people asked the co-owner of Mission Taco Joint how to rent the restaurant’s food truck – and were surprised when he told them there wasn’t one – that he figured it was time to hit the road. The new Mission Taco Joint food truck debuted yesterday, July 28, at the restaurant’s Soulard location.

The Tilford Restaurant Group opened Cater Al Fresco commissary kitchen last summer, and the availability of the new food-preparation space also prompted the food truck’s launch. Tilford said he anticipates that much of the truck’s business will come from complementing the company’s catering services at events, while street vending will be secondary.

There’s no set menu, Tilford said, but expect to see favorites from Mission Taco Joint, including three or four tacos, plus possibly a torta or burrito option and carne asada fries.

The truck may also serve as a test kitchen. “Jason and the team can try out new tacos and ideas,” Tilford said, referring to his brother and co-owner, Jason Tilford. “You’ll see some surprises we might run in a month (in the restaurant).”

Follow the truck’s whereabouts on Twitter at @mtj_mobile and on Facebook.

The Scoop: Mission Taco Joint to expand in The Loop and Soulard

Friday, November 22nd, 2013


While Adam and Jason Tilford are currently in San Francisco gathering inspiration for their newest restaurant venture, this afternoon they took a moment to catch up with The Scoop.

The brothers announced that this coming January, the space next to Mission Taco Joint will open as an overflow bar, designed for people who are waiting for a table or waiting to pick up food.

Why more space?

When Mission first opened less than a year ago, the brothers weren’t quite expecting the level of success the restaurant has been experiencing. “We didn’t think we would have much use for this little space,” Adam said. “Our plan was to have a little bodega, a Mexican market with milk, tortillas and staples, but two things changed that.” He explained that with the new Washington University housing development going up across the street from Mission and a giant Global Foods going under it, there really wasn’t a need for the bodega concept.

So they came up with a better idea. “We go on a wait every night, but there’s nowhere to wait, so we had the idea to change the bodega to a waiting bar,” Adam said. At the waiting bar, there will be 10 to 12 beers available by the can and bottle and a handful of cocktails. The bar, with the look of a beach taco stand with its corrugated tin roof, will also be a drink lab, of sorts – a place for the bartenders to experiment with new ideas. “Jimmy and Kyle [Mission’s bar manager and assistant bar manager] are really excited about it,” Adam said.

In addition to expanding next door, Mission Taco will also be expanding across town with another location at 908 Lafayette Ave., in Soulard.

As first reported by Ian Froeb of the Post-Dispatch, Adam signed the lease for the new space on Monday.

The Tilfords told The Scoop that the concept will pretty much be the same as the existing Mission. There will not be a take-out window though, and no patio seating. “It will have about 120 or 130 seats inside,” Adam said. “It also has a big garage door – a faux four seasons patio, and the door can go up.”

Along with the space and the location, the Tilfords are excited to be so close to iTap, where patrons will be able to order and carry-in Mission food. “We are right around the corner. Our back doors meet,” Jason said.

Look for the new Mission location to open in late spring.

— photo by Michelle Volansky

Hit List: Two new restaurants to try this month

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

{John Perkins}

A Good Man is Hard to Find: 360 N. Boyle Ave., St. Louis, 314.632.6754, entrestl.com/presents

If you’ve ever had John Perkins’ food, you know that it is as creative as the ways he delivers it – from his Entre Underground dinners to his first chicken-themed pop-up, Le Coq, this past winter. So hurry up and snag a seat at his newest pop-up, a southern-comfort concept named after the classic Flannery O’Connor short story. Start with a basket of house-baked bread, then bask in the supporting characters – from the pickled beet terrine with goat cheese and blood orange to the jarred sides of house-brined pickles, spiced nuts, sunchoke relish and chow-chow (a low-country mustard-based staple). When you finish off your entree with a blueberry buckle, order it topped with a scoop of buttermilk ice cream, a slightly sour foil to the sweet, juicy berries. This short story ends on Derby Day, so better crack it open soon.

Mission Taco Joint: 
6235 Delmar Blvd., The Loop, 314.932.5430, missiontacostl.com

From Adam and Jason Tilford, the busy brothers behind Milagro Modern Mexican, Barrister’s and Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen, comes this über casual ode to the taquerias dotting San Francisco’s Mission district. Seat yourself, then go with the a la carte tacos, wrapped in house-made tortillas and served with a bowl of onions, cilantro and hunks of lime for the squeezing. Brave souls should try the extra-fiery Nopales Taco (That’s Spanish for cactus.), while carnivores who can’t pass on pork belly will enjoy the crispy bits crumbled atop the tender Roasted Duck Tacos. The bar is in the creative and capable hands of Sanctuaria alum Joel Clark, who opted against an obvious tequila-heavy theme (There’s just one, solid margarita.) in favor of unique bottles like Blackwell Jamaican rum and Del Maguey Single Village mezcals. Sip apricot-heavy The Chaplinesque or place a pint glass under one of the 10 local taps.

– photos by Jonathan Gayman and Carmen Troesser

Keeping Up With Jason Tilford

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Part of Jason Tilford’s job is bouncing between the four restaurants he co-owns with his brother, Adam – Barrister’s, Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen, Milagro Modern Mexican and the newly opened Mission Taco Joint – and the nine others he consults on with buddy Chris LaRocca. With temptations of onion rings, burritos and margaritas galore, he’d have to be battery-operated not to get real fat, real fast. Yet he’s one of the slimmest chefs in the business. Sure, he has guilty pleasures – Barrister’s wings and Milagro’s chicken enchiladas to name a few – but Tilford has found a way to keep the extra pounds at bay, even while working the line. We begged him for his tricks for staying balanced in the most gluttonous profession around. He was happy to oblige.

Eat well, but eat often.
I hardly ever sit down with a plate of food. I eat a lot, but mainly small meals, all day. I try not to eat late at night. I try to skip the sweets and fried food. It’s funny; when you get into a routine, you crave eating healthy, almost. You get so used to it that eventually that Alfredo cream sauce doesn’t even look good.

Mix it up.
I play soccer, but it’s tailed down a lot since I turned 40. I also do some weight training and flexibility stuff. I’m trying to get into yoga, but it might be too boring for me. And I coach my son’s soccer team.

Hit the gym early.
I have to get my kids to school by 7:30 a.m., and the restaurant stuff doesn’t really wake up until 9. If I don’t go in the morning, usually, it’s not going to happen.

If work starts calling?
[Laughs] I can answer the first couple texts and emails of the day on the treadmill.

If you miss the morning window?
I go to Club Fitness and there’s one near my house, one between Milagro and Barrister’s, one near my sons’ school. They’re all in my rat race. There’s even one near Restaurant Depot [a purchasing center for restaurants].

 — photo by Ashley Gieseking, shot on location at Sweat.

Sneak Peek: Mission Taco Joint

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013


Mssion Taco Joint is expected to open to the public any day now. While brothers and co-owners Adam and Jason Tilford shared details about the menu a few weeks ago, we’ve been itching to see some of those words on paper become edible. Yesterday, the Tilford brothers (who also own Barrister’s, Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen and Milagro Modern Mexican) gave Sauce a taste of what customers will encounter when they order fare from St. Louis’ newest taco joint. The restaurant, located at 6235 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop, has not announced its opening date. Watch for that news to be posted in The Scoop in the next week or so. When doors do open, hours will be Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. For a sneak peek of what you’ll find at Mission Taco Joint, head on over to our Facebook page.

— Photo by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: It’s nearly mission accomplished for Mission Taco

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Last summer, restaurateurs Adam and Jason Tilford announced their plans to open Mission Taco Joint. Renovations are moving along inside the former home of Delmar Lounge at 6235 Delmar Blvd., and the Tilford brothers are aiming to unlock doors during the last week of February.

With opening day just weeks away, Jason gave The Scoop a peek at a draft version of the food menu he developed. The tightly focused menu begins with a handful of shared appetizers. Highlights include crab taquitos as well as roasted mushrooms with huitlachoche, goat cheese and arugula presented in a fried corn masa base called a huarache. A la carte tacos include popular choices such as baja fish and carne asada, but Mission gets creative with quite a few others, such as the chile-roasted duck with crisp pork belly and avocado serrano sauce. The menu also beckons for vegetarians with options like a roasted cactus taco or one featuring the local product Mofu tofu. The restaurant will feature giant Mission-style burritos wrapped in house-made tortillas, plus tortas served on telera rolls from Diana’s Bakery. Diners looking for a square meal can round things out with side dishes like fire-grilled vegetable quinoa and chayote calabacitas.

Joel Clark, who recently departed from Sanctuaria, will be helming the beverage program. Clark stated that the bar at Mission Taco Joint will be “a very culinary bar,” explaining that “as many fresh ingredients the kitchen is going to get, I’m going to get the same.” The focus on fresh will be seen in the likes of numerous flavors of agua fresca and horchata, available in virgin form or as alcoholic beverages. In addition, he plans on aligning beverages – not just cocktails, but also beer and wine – with the food. “I’m going to work really closely with the kitchen,” he commented. Clark, who’s been part of a local movement in progressive bartending, plans to continue in that direction, preparing house-made ingredients like syrups and shrubs (No flavored vodkas, sorry.) and noted that the Mission bartending crew will be quite capable of crafting classic cocktails. “I want [the bar] to be an extension of [the kitchen] as well as a bar on its own,” Clark said.

The Scoop: Broadway Oyster Bar and Tortillaria undergoing renovations

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Two local establishments are keeping things fresh with renovations. Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen will be closed for a brief period, beginning today, in order to remodel the kitchen and service area. “We took over an old space eight years ago and are finally able to do some much needed repairs and maintenance that will ensure at least another eight wonderful years in the Central West End,” said co-owner Adam Tilford in regards to the restaurant located at 8½ S. Euclid Ave. Tortillaria is expected to reopen the second week of January. Earlier this year, Tilford gave a facelift to his restaurant Milagro Modern Mexican in Webster Groves, and he is currently in the midst of renovating the old Delmar Lounge space at 6235 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop, with plans to open it as a taco joint named Mission.

Meanwhile, Broadway Oyster Bar owner John Johnson is renovating his restaurant and music venue located downtown at 736 S. Broadway Ave. Groundbreaking has already begun for the kitchen, which, upon completion in late February or early March, will enable Broadway Oyster Bar to “serve our customers more quickly and efficiently” while also providing the restaurant “more opportunities to cater events both here and off-site,” said Johnson.

In addition, Johnson is planning to build another structure in the vacant lot just north of the existing building. The addition will more than double the restaurant’s seating capacity – currently at 70 – and will also include a grilling station and oyster shucking station visible to patrons. “We are still working on details for the customer space, but, rest assured, it will have the same feel and ambiance as the existing operation with a few new touches as well,” said Johnson. This phase of the renovation is slated to be completed in the spring of 2013.

The Scoop: Tilford Bros. to open late-night taco joint in former Delmar Lounge space in The Loop

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Adam and Jason Tilford have a project in the works: a late-night taco joint located in The Loop at 6235 Delmar Blvd., in the space previously occupied by the recently shuttered Delmar Lounge. The Tilford brothers are the owners of Milagro Modern MexicanTortillaria and Barrister’s.

The restaurant, whose working name is Mission, will be “a twist on an urban taquería,” Adam explained. “It will be a cool bar where you go and hang out and, while you’re there, you can eat Mexican food.” The menu will consist of some eight to 10 tacos – ranging from the typical fish taco to atypical options like tofu or roasted mushroom tacos to suit vegetarians and vegans. There will also be Mission-style burritos, tortas and shared appetizers called botanas, plus sides like charro beans and off-the-cobb street corn. Managing the beverage program will be Lawrence Ballard, who recently came aboard as bar manager at Milagro and, coincidently, worked at Delmar Lounge for a few years.

The restaurant takes its inspiration from The Mission district in San Francisco (pictured), which Adam likened to “San Francisco’s Cherokee Street, if you will” – for its breadth of taquerías as well as “cool bars and hip, edgy feel.” He noted that giant Mission burritos hail from the district and added that diners will be able to watch as the kitchen staff makes fresh tortillas for those burritos on the tortilla press. “It’s one of the visual things people don’t usually see,” he noted. Since murals are prevalent throughout The Mission district, Adam is considering adding that touch of décor as well.

Upon taking possession of the space, which Adam expects to occur on October 1, the interior will undergo a renovation, including a complete overhaul of the kitchen. Working with Adam on the design is Space Architecture + Design, the architectural firm that also recently completed a renovation at Milagro. Adam hopes to open the eatery in early 2013, with plans to initially operate during dinner and late-night hours, extending to lunch hours soon afterward.


Drink This Weekend Edition: Drink like the devil or fly like a dove with infused tequila cocktails at Milagro

Friday, January 7th, 2011

010711_drinkThe folks at Milagro Modern Mexican continue to differentiate themselves from other south-of-the-border food establishments in town. They’ve impressed us since day one with authentic eats, and now it’s the drink menu that beckons us back. Two specialty cocktails at the upscale restaurant in Webster Groves get high marks, and both feature standout house-made tequila infusions.

El Diablo is a piccante margarita that gets its heat from habañero infused in Sauza tequila blanco. Just 48 hours is all it took to give the capsicum time to fire up that tequila. The addition of blood orange purée, a house-made limonada mix of agave nectar, lime juice, water, sugar, one ounce of Gran Gala orange liqueur, a smoked Chipotle chile salt rim and an orange wheel garnish turn this cocktail into one tasty little devil.

What to do with hibiscus-infused tequila? Put it in the Paloma, directed owner Adam Tilford. A variation on the popular Mexican cocktail that calls for tequila blanco, a grapefruit-esque soda like Jarritos or Fresca (or grapefruit juice and club soda) and lime juice, Milagro’s Paloma Rosa, translated as “pink dove,” is a combination of fragrant hibiscus-infused tequila, Fresca and lime juice served in a tall glass and garnished with a wedge of lime. Not a fan of margs but like tequila? The Paloma brings out the best in this hibiscus-infused spirit without a single drop of Triple Sec.

If you’re the type that prefers your tequila neat, Milagro recently began offering tequila flights, vertical and horizontal, starting at $13.

The Scoop: Milagro Modern Mexican offers upscale taste of Mexico

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

042810_milagroMilagro Modern Mexican opens today. There’s a lot to like about this upscale eatery in Webster Groves, the sister restaurant to owner and chef Adam Tilford’s Tortillaria in the Central West End. While the latter is a place you might scarf south-of-the-border street food, Milagro is one of the few places in town that offers authentic Mexican food in an upscale atmosphere.

Here are five reasons why you’ll want to check out Milagro:

1. An ¡olé!-deserving mole poblano. A sublime red sauce made from dried chiles, peanuts, almonds, raisins, Mexican chocolate and spices – this is one of the best moles we’ve tasted. Find it on the duck (yes, duck) enchiladas and in the roasted chicken that comes with a cilantro-rice pilaf and calabacitas.

2. Mexican truffles are tasty. Huitlacoche, otherwise known as a “Mexican truffle,” is a fungus that grows on corn. Corn smut is a common quesadilla filling, and you’ll love the meaty texture and earthy flavor it gives to Milagro’s quesadillas tradicionales made of corn masa. Plus, with morels in short supply this season, we need some interesting subs.

3. Tostaditas bundled in a banana leaf. Order the ceviche – Milagro’s is made with mahi mahi – and you’ll get a tidy little side of tostaditas wrapped in a thin banana leaf ribbon. We loved refined touches like these.

4. The ensalada Milagro. The house salad is made of mixed greens, diced tomato, grated Panela cheese and toasted pepitas tossed in a refreshing cilantro-lime vinaigrette that has just a touch of sweetness. Yeah, we can make a diet of this.

5. No red chile pepper light strands or Corona beer banners. Not inside. Not even on the patio. In readying the space in The Shoppes at Old Webster that was previously occupied by Natural Fact Foods, Tilford opted for a sophisticated décor – a soft Southwest color palette; tranquil, unobtrusive metal artwork; and simple stonework at the full bar – that invites you to stay awhile.

Milagro Modern Mexican is open daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. It’s located at 20 Allen Ave. at the rear of the building.

- Ligaya Figueras

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