Anna Murdoc’s a cafe many know, even if they don’t know it

01/09/2014 5:55 PM

01/09/2014 5:55 PM

Anna Murdoc’s Cafe is a restaurant that many people know, even if they don’t know it yet. From their signature chorizo taco burgers at last fall’s Tallgrass Film Festival to their Indian tacos at Creative Rush events to their carne asada at KMUW’s Fill Your Mug event, members of the Rodriguez family have a taste that’s uniquely their own, and they get around.

Gerard Rodriguez is the owner of Anna Murdoc’s, which is at 209 E. William. Most people will remember Gerard and his father, Michael, from their barbecue joint, The Red Barn, a restaurant on the east side of Lake Afton that closed in 2012. I’d heard a lot about Anna Murdoc’s, and after a little taste of what they were serving up at Tallgrass, I was looking forward to stopping in.

ON THE MENU: The menu features a few appetizers, including nachos, soup and salad, and several breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees including their signature burritos, enchiladas, fajitas and tamales. They have also a rotating specialty menu that showcases several new, seasonal and Red Barn favorite entrees.

DON’T-MISS DISHES: The best thing I ordered was the smothered burrito ($6.49). This signature burrito was filled with refried beans, seasoned pork, Spanish rice and cheddar cheese. It was wrapped in a large toasted flour tortilla and then smothered with homemade tomato sauce that had a slightly sweet flavor and balanced very well with the spicy seasoning of the pork. Although the dish doesn’t come with any side items, you’re not going to want any because the burrito takes up the whole plate.

I also really liked the posole, which is similar to menudo but toned way down. I ordered the bowl, with tender, bite-sized pieces of seasoned steak and white hominy marinated in a red soup of cumin, dry oregano, chopped white onion and chiles. It’s a simple soup that’s full of flavor. I couldn’t help but smile when I took the first bite because it instantly took me back home to Los Angeles and weekend Mexican potlucks. It comes with hot flour tortillas on the side for dipping and is $3.99 for a cup, $4.99 for a bowl.

AMBIENCE: The dining area has a limited number of tables and chairs, but there’s room to grow. There’s also a great little outside seating area that will be nice when it’s warmer. The walls are painted in warm colors and are full of the work of local artists.

PRICE RANGE: Appetizers range between $3.99 and $6.49. Entrees are $4.99 to $6.99.

SERVICE: The day I visited, there was a business meeting happening in the restaurant’s rental room, and eight other customers were ordering both to-go and dine-in items, but it didn’t negatively affect my service. There were five people working, including Gerard and his father, Mike. I waited only 17 minutes for my food and had an overall great experience.

The only downfall was how far away I had to park. I was told that a nearby parking garage would be finished in May, but until then, you may have to park a few blocks away.

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