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Special Request: Mission Taco's beans have a secret ingredient

Special Request: Mission Taco's beans have a secret ingredient

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Mission Taco Joint Refried Black Beans

Mission Taco Joint Refried Black Beans. Photo by Pat Eby

Q • Could you request Mission Taco’s black beans? Outstanding! — Jennifer O’Hearn, St. Louis

A • Black beans, both cooked and refried, are a big deal at all of the Mission Taco restaurants. “We cook 900 pounds of beans each week, in 70- to 90-pound batches, for our restaurants,” manager Tyler Arvison says. “There’s always beans cooking at our commissary. We use them in all the burritos, in the pork and in the portobello tacos, in the veggie tortas and in our Chorihuevo, a popular breakfast-style chorizo and egg torta.”

Our reader Jennifer O’Hearn suspects there’s a special ingredient at work that makes them taste so good. She’s right. It’s fresh epazote, a pungent Mexican herb that adds a distinctive savory, earthy flavor to dishes. Adding it at the end stage of cooking preserves its singular taste, which lessens in a longer cook.

See the recipe here. 

The beans get another pop from the crumbled Mexican queso fresco on top. The cheese, made from fresh milk from cows or goats, has a unique salty, slightly sour flavor that works well with the beans. Miguel Pintor, director of culinary operations at Mission Taco, enjoys the beans with a topping of pico de gallo as well.

At Mission Taco, the attention to sourcing the freshest ingredients and taking time to make everything in house, from scratch, pays off in the dishes on their menu, right down to the black beans, the rice, house-made chips and the three styles of salsas.

We’ve featured a few recipes in Special Request from chef Jason Tilford in the past that fit right in with the summer grilling season, including Mission Taco’s famous Mexican street corn and the marinade recipe for the grilled chicken in their South Beach burrito. We also featured a recipe for carne asada from his now-shuttered restaurant, Milagro Modern Mexican.

This summer, look for a unique beer well-suited to tacos and beans. “During August, we will be the only restaurant in St. Louis to carry Urban Chestnut’s new Big Shark Grapefruit Radler,” Arvison says. The grapefruit radler follows last year’s successful Big Shark Lemon Radler. The mash-up of citrus sodas and beer is the perfect match for Mexican foods.

Summer is also the perfect time to try their famous late-night happy hour. From 10 p.m. to close, every night, enjoy $2 tacos and $2 tequila shots at any of the Mission Taco Joint locations.


Mission Taco Joint

Central West End: 398 North Euclid Avenue

Delmar Loop: 6235 Delmar Boulevard

Soulard: 908 Lafayette Avenue

Streets of St. Charles: 1650 Beale Street

Recipes from the top 100 restaurants in St. Louis:

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