By Kevin Collison
Next time you’re at Torn Label Brewing in the East Crossroads, you can pair your Alpha Pale Ale with a taco or quesadilla prepared by Tacos Valentina.
The microbrewery at 1708 Campbell became a new home to what had been a rambling, pop-up eatery about two weeks ago.
Rafi Chaudry, owner of Torn Label, said the collaboration is great for both his place and Tacos Valentina. The brewer’s previous chef, Vince Brink, had left with plans to open his own restaurant.
“We were excited for Vince and we wanted to hand off the reigns to someone else,” Chaudry said.
“We had Tacos Valentina as a pop-up last year and it was exciting for us to host them.
“The food was delicious and we saw how excited people were for it and how dedicated and devoted they were. We stayed in touch and when the space became available we felt it was a natural fit.”
Roger Avila, co-owner of Tacos Valentina, began his business as a pop-up in 2021. His first stop was Big Mood Natural Wine in the Crossroads. His food’s reputation then led him to other venues including Casual Animal, Alma Mater and Torn Label.
His original idea was to come up with a menu that could be prepared in a kitchen set up in a parking lot. His dishes are based on masa milled fresh daily from heirloom corn from Mexico.
“We created a menu through trial and error that had quite a following,” Avila said.
The new alliance with Torn Label allows him to get even more creative with his offerings and find ways to pair his food with the beers brewed there.
Taco Valentina also has a food prep kitchen in the West Bottoms and still runs a catering side business.
In the meantime, Torn Label has held onto a few of its previous favorites on the menu including soft pretzels, Belgian Frites and burgers.
The food and beer have proved to be great companions.
“They approach it with the same enthusiasm and dedication to quality we’ve always had,” Chaudry said.
The Taco Valentina kitchen hours at Torn Label are Wednesday through Thursday, 4- to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The kitchen begins closing about an hour before the brewery shuts its door.
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