Dining With Denise Neil

It’s like a tiny tortilleria, and it’s wowing customers at this new Wichita restaurant

Machine makes fresh tortillas in 30 seconds

Mario Quiroz, owner of Molino's Taqueria, makes fresh tortillas using a machine at his restaurant. (February 8, 2019)
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Mario Quiroz, owner of Molino's Taqueria, makes fresh tortillas using a machine at his restaurant. (February 8, 2019)

When he first opened his new Molino’s Taqueria at 2035 N. Rock Road, Mario Quiroz thought he’d save a little time by making tortillas in advance.

But he quickly found out that his customers not only wanted to eat his fresh flour tortillas — made in seconds by a high-tech, expensive machine that operates in full view of people ordering their food — they also wanted to watch them being made.

When Quiroz first envisioned his taqueria — a Chipotle-style version of his flagship restaurant at 1064 N. Waco — he knew he wanted to have one of the fancy tortilla machines he’d seen while visiting restaurants in Texas. He got one, and now it’s set up at the beginning of the line that people travel to order their piratas, street tacos, nachos or bowls.

The staff simply loads a dough ball onto the conveyer belt on the back of the machine, then it disappears inside, and within seconds, a perfectly round 8-inch tortilla slides out the front and onto a hot grill, where it’s quickly cooked before being filled. The whole process takes about 30 seconds.

If the machine ran nonstop, Quiroz said, it could produce about 400 flour tortillas in an hour.

The hot, fresh-made tortillas have been such a hit with customers that Quiroz is now selling them by the bag to go. A package of eight tortillas is $2.99.

There is one small issue, but it has a simple solution.

Dedicated customers of Quiroz’s downtown original restaurant who love its famous piratas are used to the giant tacos having a more grilled, crispy texture. At the taqueria, piratas are typically served on the soft, fresh tortillas.

But a customer just has to ask and the staff can grill the pirata until it’s crispy, just like on Waco.

Also, some customers have requested ideas for creating the best meals using the taqueria’s big selection of garnishes and meats, and Quiroz will address that soon, too. He’s creating and naming some suggested combinations and will post them in the restaurant for those who don’t want to decide for themselves.

Molino’s Taqueria is open from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 316-252-8261.

Denise Neil has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about dining.