Last week I met up with the world famous MSPD for lunch at Richfield’s newest and arguably one of the best lunchtime dining options in the area between the River and Minneapolis, Andale Taqueria y Mercado. In what used to be an Ember’s restaurant dating back to the 1960s comes a fresh and vibrant taqueria and Hispanic market serving street food and a lots of Hispanic grocery items, meats, vegetables, and prepared foods.
Retaining the look of Ember’s but bring it up to modern standards, the location is certainly noticeable in that area of town which seems to be mostly residences and burned out/failed strip mall businesses. While it’s refreshing for the immediate area, it reminds a lot of the nearby REI and had me wishing there was a climbing wall inside to play on while I waited for MSPD to show up.
Eventually pokey arrived and we went in. We looked over the impressively different menu (make sure you scroll to see it all) and made our choices. MSPD went with an assortment of six different tacos including beef tripe and carne asada. Most of the taco options are $1.79 (come with the usual onions, cilantro, meat, etc, and lime) but a few were priced at $1.99. I decided to try the Quesdo de Puerco (head cheese) torta ($7.75) and a Buche (pork stomach) taco for $1.79. Along with a Diet Coke and a Pineapple Jarritos the bill came to just over $25.
The space inside is bright and mostly clean. While it was busy for the lunch hour and the floors were in need of some cleaning under the tables, the kitchen itself was sparkling clean. While some may be a little concerned with a rolling cart overflowing with raw meat sitting out in plain view, we thought it was pretty awesome.
We arrived before the line started heading towards the door but even so because they cook everything to order, you’re not going to be in and out at Andale. After a 15+ minute wait or orders were up and we came back to the table with our huge piles of food. MSPD’s tacos were bright, big, and beautiful. Fresh veggies and cilantro with a couple of lime wedges alongside a triumverate of salsas (Chile de Arbol, Jalapeno, and Pico de Gallo) these were priced right and according to the foodie champ himself, very tasty. However he was confused as to which ones he received and wondered if the guy behind the counter heard his order correctly–so be forewarned that you may need to provide extra clarity when you order.
My pork stomach taco (pictured at the top of the post) was wonderful. The meat was very flavorful and the fat juices kept it nice and moist. While I used to believe that there was nothing better than a beef tongue taco, I have definitely found a new favorite! The head cheese torta was also good but unfortunately not great. The veggies included inside could have been fresher (the lettuce wasn’t as crisp as it could have been and the tomatoes were more orange than I’d like to see at this time of year–quality of this year’s local crop be damned–get your tomatoes in paper bags!) The avocado was very fresh but extremely limited and the jarred jalapenos would really have been better as pickled fresh ones instead. However the rest of the sandwich was good and I enjoyed the majority of the head cheese except for the last few bites around the edges were the gelatin was a bit “crisp” and there wasn’t much meat flavor.
Overall while I probably won’t be able to make Andale a regular stop on my circuit, if I happen to be up in the area of the MoA I’d much rather stop in there for some tasty Hispanic food than much anything else in the area. If live in the area or are up there frequently I definitely would suggest you get in there to try some of their food for the uniqueness alone. Mmm, mmm.
Have you ever eaten at Andale Taqueria and Mercado in Richfield? If so what did you think? What did you order? Did you try any of the more unusual items listed or did you stick to the traditional? What other restaurant recommendations do you have for that area of town? Whatever you have to say about Andale go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Andale Taqueria & Mercado
7700 Nicollet Ave S
Richfield, MN 55423
See all the pictures from Andale Taqueria and Mercado on Flickr here.