mission taco joint margarita photo by adam rothbarth

First Look: Mission Taco Joint in Kirkwood

It’s a weird time to open a 12,000-square-foot restaurant and arcade. Nobody knows this more than Mission Taco Joint co-owners Adam and Jason Tilford, whose newest Mission outpost opens at 105 E. Jefferson Ave. on Wednesday, June 24. But as veteran restaurateurs, they’re prepared to turn the Kirkwood spot (which occupies the previous Kirkwood Station Brewing Co. space) into the family-friendly hub their other locations have become.

One major departure for this new location is that it’s not just a restaurant – the new spot also contains a full arcade, which features skee-ball, six pinball machines and 16 video games. Unfortunately, the arcade won’t be open when the restaurant’s tape is cut this week, but Adam Tilford assures that as soon as it’s safe to do so in light of the current social distancing measures, they’ll open up the arcade. 

They’ll also have an experimental kitchen and bar on that side of the building with off-menu specials and unique beverages. Sauce previously reported that in the Mission Test Kitchen, chef Jason Tilford would work on “masa-centric items such as empanadas, tamales, sopes, Mexico City-style quesadillas” and more.

In addition, the new space houses a half-million dollar tortilla line purchased from Casa Herrera in California. The line can make up to 7,000 corn tortillas an hour and will be the new corn tortilla and chip producer for all Mission locations. Adam Tilford said they’d eventually like to do wholesale and also sell their chips as retail items.  

Of course, the centerpiece of the new spot will be its menu and bar, which will be largely the same as the other locations. For food, patrons can enjoy starters like carne asada fries and guacamole, while the list of about a dozen tacos includes the spicy chorizo, the portobello and the Baja fish. Also in the game here are burritos, tortas and a robust sides menu that includes street corn “off the cob” and house-made churros. 

This location will serve some of the restaurant’s signature beer collaborations, including 2nd Shift Brewing’s Submission IPA, 4 Hands Brewing Co.’s Vigilante (a Mexican-style lager) and Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.’s seasonal Radler, served here year-round. Other local and West Coast beers will round out the 12 taps.  

Due to the coronavirus, the company is currently operating as what they're calling Mission Taco Lite – a fast-casual, dine-in concept where customers can order when they enter the restaurant; once they're seated, a server will deliver their food. The full-service model will return as the need for social distancing diminishes. The chain is also open for carryout and delivery, which includes the new Kirkwood location. 

Hours will be from 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Lunch hours will be added soon.

Here’s a look at the new Mission Taco Joint.