From NPR’s John Burnett

Terras Urban Mexican Kitchen in downtown Brownsville, where entrepreneurs are bringing historic structures back to life. On our visit, co-founder and head chef Christian Nevarez brings out platters of corn tortillas filled with ribeye steak, corn and sautéed onions splashed with queso fresco; with cochinita pibil, braised pork in a peppery, yellow spice from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula; and with braised octopus in chipotle salsa and grilled pineapples.

“I grew up eating tacos. I love tacos,” says Nevarez, who hails from Matamoros, just across the border. “It’s something the common folk eat because it’s cheap. The meat is cheap and the tortillas are cheap.”

“When we opened this restaurant in 2014,” he recalls, “we knew we wanted to do something with better ingredients. If the regular taco is already good, then that means the only place you can go is up, right?”

In the Lone Star State, tacos often fall into the hybrid cuisine known as Tex-Mex, which is usually pumped full of cumin and loaded with melted orange cheese. But just because a Mexican restaurant is in Texas doesn’t make it Tex-Mex.

Medrano weighs in: “I would call this food Mexican American. What Christian is doing is cooking who he is. Just eat it. The food narrates its identity.”

Terra’s Urban Mexican Kitchen was a BCIC BIG Grant Recipient for 2018 – 2019.