First Look at Moderno Tacos + Tex-Mex
Photo by Mai Pham DF Street Tacos (carne asada and chicken), $10.95 at Moderno Tacos + Tex-Mex.
From the outside, Moderno Tacos + Tex Mex looks like your typical nondescript strip mall restaurant. Come a little closer, however, and a charming design space awaits, complete with a funky local Mexican mural in the window, beckoning you to have a closer look.
Just a month old, Moderno, located on Briar Forest just outside Beltway 8 in Westchase, is ambitious. Open at 7 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, they are already serving breakfast and lunch (counter service), happy hour and dinner.
"People are really loving the egg and chorizo breakfast tacos," says general manager Shane Conley. "Come Friday afternoon, our happy hour is great. People would rather come here and have a glass of wine or one of our fresh margaritas than get stuck in traffic."
Designed by Melanie Bell of Pear Tree Concepts, the space is meant to channel a border town cantina, like the ones owner John Moore (who also owns Palazzo's down the street) and his wife Stassa would visit when crossing the border. In fact, the name Moderno is an homage to El Restaurante Moderno (now closed), a cantina they used to visit in the border town of Piedras Negras, Mexico, across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas.
Photo by Mai Pham The interior of Moderno is stylish and comfortable.
Prettily-patterned Mexican tiles in blues and yellows line the bar, while reclaimed wood slats in varying shades of blue and brown line the back walls. Several rows of string lights evoke an outdoor feel even when indoors, and comfortable-looking booths appear inviting. Moderno's also has a big elk animal trophy on the back wall named Oscar, and a very cool, artsy partition wall in the back made of hundreds of colored glass bottles.
Photo by Mai Pham Chips, salsa, queso, guacamole. Yum.
The dinner menu is classic Tex-Mex and several tacos plates. We started with the basics: chips and salsa, an order of guacamole, an order of queso. The chips were whisper thin and very crispy and quite addictive, especially when eaten in combination the cheese-guacamole-salsa combination on the table, and we easily polished off an entire basket.
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