As we approach the end of the year (gasp), we wanted to celebrate one of the restaurant highlights of 2019. Taqueria Jaslicso-Ania is a crowd favorite in Chattanooga, with two successful locations – one downtown and the other in the historic Southside on Rossville Avenue. The newest spot was both an expansion and relocation, albeit not far – a move across the street in what used to be an abandoned old shell of a building. We had the opportunity to photograph it for Haskel Sears Design, known for their ability to turn uninspiring run down buildings into impressive architectural wonders. And this project did not disappoint! Rustic modern exteriors with shiplap siding are accented with black trellises in tall vertical stretches to shelter the outdoor seating. Large planters surround the patio alongside rattan dining tables and a cozy cushioned, wide porch swing.
The interiors boast creamy white tones, rusty terra-cotta and gold, giving it a trendy draw-you-in West Coast feel. Out of the 108 seats, you have a variety of choices. On a crisp fall evening, hop on the outdoor porch swing or mingle by the bar. Inside, more barstools line up along the garage doors and bar. Dining tables are a plenty, and two booths are ready for entertaining larger groups.
Authentic, traditional Mexican dishes are found here, serving tacos, tortas, quesadillas and other Mexican classics. The food is flavorful and fresh. The cocktails and service will not disappoint.
We had a chance to sit down to hear the thoughts of owner, Jorge Parra.
KC: Talk about your mom and the beginnings of the restaurant.
JP: She is killer. I fucking love her! She started this business 14 years ago in a food truck on the corner of Main and Wilhoit. She started while I was in school and things started to get really busy. She asked me to help her a bit and that was in 2010. I’m still here, 9 years later.
KC: Where are you originally from?
JP: I was born in Mexico and we came to the US when I was 5. We’ve lived in New York, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and then TN. We moved a lot for my dad’s job.
KC: How does the dynamic work with you and your mom?
JP: My Mom is the chef, back of house. She runs the kitchen and does all the cooking. I work front of house. I do the bookkeeping, staffing, all of that stuff. I make everything behind the scenes happen.
KC: What made you decide to make the move?
JP: This was 5 years in the making. There was this old space across the street, a cinderblock building that used to have different colored mannequins inside. It was an art installation and we had been looking at it for a while. I worked on the design with Thomas Palmer at Tinker Ma, and Matt Sears (Haskel Sears Design).
KC: What were the biggest and smallest changes after opening?
JC: The smallest was the menu. We didn’t change much. Our main goal was to keep the service and food consistent. The biggest was that we went from 4 staff members to about 30. That was a huge transition.
KC: That’s amazing. Are you still doing catering, as well as running two locations?
JP: Yes. We are so busy. My mom says I’m trying to kill her. We’re booked for catering 2-3 times every weekend along with having the restaurants open.
KC: Did you choose all the interiors on your own?
JP: I had a vision but also had some help from Nathan Galui.
KC: Is everything finished?
JP: I’m still planning a swing and some big tropical plants.
KC: What was the reason you opened on April 1?
JP: We opened on April Fools Day, just in case it didn’t happen. (laughs)
SmartFurniture.com - Booth table bases
Haskel Sears Design - Custom booth and seating, back bar, cabinetry, shelves
West Elm - Chairs
CB2 - Tables
Wayfair: Pendant Lights