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This small Mexican taco stand with just four items on the menu wins a Michelin star

A tiny Mexican taco restaurant shocked the world by winning a Michelin star, marking a major culinary milestone.

This small Mexican taco stand with just four items on the menu wins a Michelin star
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Chitokan C.

Many people know how challenging it is for restaurants to earn a Michelin star. The standards to earn even one star are immense and require significant effort from the owners. However, this small taco shop in Mexico City surprised the world after it got its first Michelin star, per Euro News. The shop, which is just three square meters, was the only taco shop among 18 Mexican businesses that secured the honor. Head chef Arturo Rivera Martinez was visited by Michelin representatives to be given the pristine white chef's jacket.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Vinícius Caricatte
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Vinícius Caricatte

However, Martinez chose not to wear the jacket. The man has been doing only one thing over his long 20-year career as a chef, which has been to sear meat. His restaurant is called Tacos El Califa de León, which is located in Mexico City and only has four items on the menu. It essentially contains only beef tacos with meat that comes from the cow's rib, loin or foreshank. Martinez shared that there was no big secret to the restaurant's success and that it all came from the quality of the ingredients that went into the food.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | ROMAN ODINTSOV
Representative Image Source: Pexels | ROMAN ODINTSOV

He said, "The secret is in the quality of the taco, the meat, the tortilla, everything. There is no secret." El Califa de León stands out as perhaps one of the few small restaurants ever to be given a Michelin star. The other one is Jay Fai, a roadside eatery in Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, that specializes in Thai cuisine, per Business Insider. They received their first Michelin star in 2018 and are run by a single chef, Junsuta.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Israyosoy S.
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Israyosoy S.

El Califa de León has a bit of a costly menu by Mexican standards, with a single taco being priced at almost $5. However, the small establishment witnesses a large influx of customers every day who want to try out their beef tacos. José Castañeda, one of the regulars at the place, revealed how he found the quality of the food and the service at the restaurant to be "incredible." The Michelin Star Award will push small businesses to innovate and be more competitive.

Image Source: TikTok | @tacoboutjoys
Image Source: TikTok | @tacoboutjoys

It is always nice to see small local businesses getting the recognition that they deserve. The daughter of a taco restaurant owner shared an emotional video on TikTok about how her mother's business lacked customers. The text overlay at the start of the video reads, "It breaks my heart to see my mom watching the door every day, waiting for a customer to walk in." The daughter wishes to give her mother customers as gifts for Christmas. We can see the mother, Joy Milan, sitting in the empty shop and looking eagerly at the door, hoping for customers to come in. 

Image Source: TikTok | @tacoboutjoys
Image Source: TikTok | @tacoboutjoys

The video struck a chord with a lot of people, and they decided to support the restaurant. A day later, the daughter posted an update about the restaurant. The on-screen text in the follow-up video reads, "Haven't had time to sit down and update, but let's just say it was only my mom and me this morning and we ended with this crew." In the kitchen, we see nine people working hard to fill orders. The daughter writes in the video, "We're amazed by the support and we're still taking it in."

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