Mexa Tacos exterior

MexA Tacos will open its new location today on West Market Street. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

When MexA Tacos first opened in St. Matthews three years ago, the menu focused on steak tacos, steak tacos and more steak tacos. A new location is open downtown now with a little bit of everything.

The original menu grew gradually to add pork, fish, shrimp and most recently chicken. The new MexA expands things a bit further, adding three signature burritos, fresh churros, elotes and a tostada.

Downtown — at 305 W. Market St. near the former Bistro 301 — the vibe is similar to the original, with brightly colored tile floors and an open kitchen with a glass perimeter so you can watch your food being made. But the new MexA also offers bar seating overlooking the kitchen.

Instead of mix-and-match tables and chairs as at the original, downtown there are matching red chairs with a MexA logo on the chairbacks. In addition, there is more space leading toward the order counter, where diners will be greeted with a warmer full of fresh, hot churros.

Perhaps what sets the new restaurant off the most, however, is the exposed brick, which is painted white and adorned with simple murals reminding you where you are: at a tacqueria. One mural lists all the different meats and other ingredients, while another touts the handmade tortillas and other aspects of the restaurant. And another nice touch is a roadside marquee sign mounted on the wall that will have rotating messages touting tacos.

There also are a gyro-style standup rotisserie that will be used for making al pastor and a fryer for making churros and offering more fried options in the future. Manager Michael Cox says that, just as with the original, the food will be fresh, much of it made on site. Cervezas and margaritas also will be available, as with the original location.

Cox also adds that, including seating in a small patio area, the restaurant will seat around 75. The original seats about 50, he says.

The menu includes favorites like the crunchy cheese taco, along with breakfast options all day. The new MexA Burrito comes stuffed with a choice of protein — be it steak, pork, chicken or fish — beans, tortilla chips, tomatoes, lettuce, chipotle rice and crema. A chili relleno version adds a roasted poblano pepper with red salsa and cheese.

The breakfast burrito is similar to the breakfast chilaquiles, a staple of both the original and new locations, blending eggs, beans, chips and bacon, and topped with layers of potatoes, tomatoes and avocado. The Volcan is a corn tostada topped with a protein, glazed cheese, lettuce, guacamole, crema, cilantro and roasted tomato salsa.

Catering will be available soon downtown, with MexA employees bringing small grills to prepare tacos fresh on site.

All in all, the new location represents the small restaurant’s brand nicely, with some added flair. More importantly, owner Lorena Casas-Ostos wants it to represent the traditions she experienced while living in Mexico.

“I tried to put the same elements at this location,” she tells Insider. “I tried to make it like a traditional Mexican tacqueria.”

MexA Tacos, located at 305 W. Market St., is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Below are more photos of the new restaurant: