Taqueria El Milagro is a standout in the standoff of 10 or so Mexican restaurants that place Oxford dead center of the national trend that has seen Latin food and beverage become numero uno –– north and south of the border.
Located on the corner of West Jackson Avenue and Hathorn Road, the fun, colorful establishment owned and operated by Bulmaro and Brigida Reveles has been winning the patronage of students, visitors, locals and natives alike since 2007.
With 100 seats inside and 60 more on the patio, El Milagro is known for authentic Latin cuisine that does justice to the rich and diverse food traditions of Mexico’s many and varied regions and provinces.
“We wanted El Milagro to be the kind of restaurant where people could come and feel like they had just escaped and stepped into a little Mexican café in Zacatecas, where we are from in north central Mexico,” Bulmaro Reveles says, pointing to a large painting of the city that hangs on the far wall.
While the décor and the casual atmosphere of El Milagro may seem comparable to that of a thousand other Mexican cantinas that have popped up in America in the last few decades, the food coming out of Chef Raul Davila’s kitchen sets the restaurant, whose Spanish name translates as “little miracle,” apart from any other in the city.
“The idea was to hit the Hispanic market,” Reveles says, recalling that at the time he opened seven years ago, El Milagro was the fifth Mexican restaurant on West Jackson Avenue, a block with no shortage of places to grab a taco and a frozen Margarita.
To distinguish itself from the competition, Reveles purposely put classic and indigenous dishes such as Shrimp Diablo (spicy hot shrimp served on a bed of Mexican rice) on his extensive menu along with classic Mexican mole dishes such as Mole de Pollo. And rather than serving the ubiquitous taco that patrons could find anywhere, Reveles took the tacos on his menu back to basics with marinated pork and fresh chopped onion and cilantro, all wrapped in a made-from-scratch corn tortilla.
“People realized how good they were like that,” Reveles says.
Mexican food aficionados can feast on gourmet Mexican tamales, refried beans and guacamole side dishes made to order seven days a week. While the most traditional and predictable of Mexican food lovers will find everything they are looking for at El Milagro, Reveles says few food items are guaranteed a place on a menu that is regularly being updated—to keep pace with the near constant evolution of Mexican food in all its many creative and regional manifestations.
“We are going to add some pasta and chipotle to the new menu that is coming out soon,” Reveles says.
Along with the food and the karaoke music that Reveles added to the mix in 2010, he says customers have come to set their happy hour watches by the frozen margaritas that the staff makes daily. Less generic house signatures round out the beverage selection, one that Reveles says has only gotten better with time.
“We have plenty of two-for-one specials, and we have a selection of some of Mexico’s best tequilas,” Reveles says, adding, “(Mexico) may not be that big, but we make good tasting tequila.”
Reveles, who operates another small Mexican restaurant with his wife inside the Tienda El Carreton Mexican market they opened across town in 2001, says people appreciate Mexican cuisine for any number of reasons, but his own take on its popularity is quite basic.
“The spiciness does not take over the food. Overall, it represents an outstanding combination of ingredients that creates a taste that is universal in its appeal.”
Visit Taqueria El Milagro online or stop by their booth during Oxford’s Double Decker Festival April 25 through 27 and receive a free gift food coupon to redeem on your next visit to the restaurant.
Double Decker Food Vendor Profile: Taqueria El Milagro
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