AUSTIN, Texas — It seems like every other month, we're telling you about the closing of another restaurant or bar. However, Moonshine has had long-standing success in Austin – and it's owners are aiming for the same success with their new taqueria on South Lamar Boulevard.
Inside the kitchen at Masa y Más, it's a family atmosphere. But make no mistake: Roberto Campos is "El Jefe," the boss.
Born and raised in Central Mexico, he remembers his grandmother's recipes by heart. They're all about flavorful dishes and delicious tacos served on handmade tortillas – both yellow and blue corn.
"It's really important when you're running a restaurant to stay true to who you are and what the community asks you to be," said Terry Herres, general manager at Masa y Más.
Herres is an Austin native and knows the key ingredients to making a new restaurant work, especially at a time when many Austin mainstays are closing.
"What we really focus on is value, authenticity and quality. So we want to make sure that we're not people who come in and charge $12 for a taco that could be $5," Herres said.
At this South Lamar taqueria, you get a laid-back counter service complete with aguas frescas and margaritas.
"We also have a lot of spirits on the menu that focus on authenticity in Mexico, made pure and without additives," Herres said.
That's where Josh Coffee of Tequila Querendon comes in.
"The single most important ingredient in the process of making beautiful tequila is how you cook the agave," Coffee said.
We're talking slow-roasted for 30 to 36 hours!
"We cook the agave like you cook food for your family. Very similar to the way Roberto cooks food for the community here in South Austin," Coffee said.
At Masa y Más, it's all about quality tequila, tacos and friendships.
"When you're a startup and you're bootstrapping and on your own, you definitely need to rely on your friends, family and community in order to get the word out," Coffee said.
In the two months the taqueria has been open, staff have focused on listening to customers and getting their opinions, whether it be in person, through comment cards or even on Reddit.
"Just to hear from a very ground level what the feedback was on our restaurants so we could adjust and grow," Herres said.
It's that growth and success that Chef Campos is aiming for. He hopes to make his mother, Conchita, proud.
Masa y Más, located at 1817 S. Lamar Blvd., is open Tuesdays through Sundays for lunch and dinner.