There is a new contender in the ever-growing battle of Mexican food supremacy in the Twin Cities. Tienda y Carniceria Doña Mary just opened up in West Monroe and is taking locals on a taco and gordita-filled ride through taco town.
The name of the restaurant is Spanish and roughly translates to “Miss Mary’s store and butcher shop.” It’s a small grocery store and restaurant all in one. Walk to the back and you see men at work chopping down huge cuts of beef to manageable portions. What seems to be bringing locals and visitors from far and wide though is their hot food.
Located in the front of the store to the right are a few tables in front of a small kitchen. Here is where the magic happens. You see older women hand pressing tortillas, gorditas and pupusas through the glass. Many hungry locals come visit Doña Mary’s. They peer through the glass nervously before asking, “English?” to a group of workers. Smiling one of them replies “First time here?”
The menu is ever-changing with new specials daily. Some constants you can find are tacos and gorditas.
Corn and flour tortillas are handmade in house by the workers. The fillings for the tacos seem to be endless. Cactus, egg, chorizo and beef—they have it all. The waitress presented a plate of two corn and two flour tacos. Cilantro, onion and limes came on the side with two choices of salsa. Be careful when drizzling the hotter of the two salsas onto your tacos. It won’t take much for you to regret it.
The tacos were good but the gorditas were better. For those unfamiliar with a gordita, the best way to explain them is they’re smaller, thicker tortillas made out of corn and sliced open. Like tacos, the sky’s the limit to what can go inside them.
The house recommends you try a gordita with carnitas meat. This meat is a slow deep-fried pulled pork. Fill it with your choice of veggies, preferably cilantro and onion. Then after a few quick squeezes of a lime and some careful drizzles of the salsa you can dig in.
Doña Mary’s represented a slight hint of back home cooking. The food there is cheap, quick and very filling. It’s worth a visit for anybody curious of what that new place is next to Latin Foods.