Mission Taqueria gives Philly something to taco bout

Mike Prince

Six courses, plenty of tacos and a revival of a fan favorite — we’re talking about Mission Taqueria’s ever-popular Tacolab, and it’s back this Monday, Jan. 24. 

The last time Tacolab popped up in Philly, it was in early 2020 (pre-COVID if you can even remember those times) and Mike Strauss of Mike’s BBQ was manning the grill that February. That was not the first Tacolab; it was actually the 15th.

Since beginning these collaborations in 2018, Mission has worked with some of the city’s most prominent chefs and restaurants, including Jesse Ito from Royal Sushi & Izakaya, Marc Vetri, the team behind Cheu Noodle Bar and Bing Bing Dim Sum, Andrew Henshaw (then chef-de-cuisine of Zahav) of Laser Wolf, Middle Child’s Matt Cahn, Res Ipsa’s Michael Ferrari, and Ange Branca from Saté Kampar, plus several more, according to a news release.

Now, Chef Randy Rucker from River Twice will join the team at Mission Taqueria for the 16th promotion of Tacolab which will take place at the popular hotspot at 1516 Sansom St. in Rittenhouse.

TacolabMike Prince

Rucker, who was recently named Best Chef by Philadelphia Magazine in 2021, will help bring the one-night-only menu of six plates alive, while boasting a hybrid of the two restaurants’ cuisines. For this installation, Rucker will join Mission Taqueria Executive Chef Jonathan Rodriguez in the kitchen, and the two will feature a menu that includes: A puffy taco with hay-smoked crema and Kaluga caviar; oyster pozole rojo; mini tamale with porcini mole; sweetbread tacos; grilled short rib tacos; and concha sando for dessert. The dinner costs $85 per person plus tax and gratuity and seatings will be available between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.

“Tacolab has been an amazing experiment which allowed us to work with some of the most talented culinary personalities in Philly, and I am beyond excited to have it back in our lives,” said McLaughlin. “These taco-collabs bring incredible vibes and fun to our space, and having Randy in the kitchen will be an honor for the entire team. It’s been a long two years, but this one will be worth the wait with Randy and Jon working their magic.”

Visitors will be able to enjoy the coursed meal at the lively Mexican cantina, which also features fresh juices, cocktails, homemade masa tortillas and wood-grilled tacos in its bright, second-floor venue above their sister restaurant, Oyster House. 

Reservations and tickets for Tacolab are now available, but they are known to sell out quite fast — so, it’s recommended to get yours sooner than later. 

To find out more information and to check out a full menu, visit missiontaqueria.com/tacolab