Photo of Jaime Rosas and Yolanda Soriano by Mabel Suen
Since March, La Oaxaqueña – a family-owned and -operated eatery in Mehlville in south St. Louis County – has showcased traditional southwestern Mexican fare, including tlayuda, tamales and picaditas, as well as Tex-Mex-inspired dishes like tacos, burritos and fajitas.
La Oaxaqueña comes from married couple Yolanda Soriano and Jaime Rosas. Soriano’s brother and sister-in-law, Reinaldo Soriano and Lorena Bautista, head the kitchen together.
In her hometown of Oaxaca, Mexico, Yolanda Soriano grew up learning how to cook at her mother’s side. When Soriano was only 13, her mother died, leaving her older sister to become caretaker of the family. At 16, Soriano came to the U.S. and worked in St. Louis and in Illinois before settling in the metro area permanently.
Over the years, she gained valuable experience learning how to cook Tex-Mex-style cuisine while working at area eateries. With her first restaurant, Soriano reconnects with her roots by sharing Oaxacan family recipes from her childhood.
“This food makes me feel like I’m home with my mom,” Soriano says. “We have iconic, traditional dishes like tlayuda – a big tortilla with beans, cabbage, Oaxaca cheese, tomatoes and meat – and tamales wrapped in plantain leaves instead of in a corn husk. Everything we do here is from scratch, including grinding our own masa [maize dough] for corn tortillas.”
In addition to the bestselling tlayuda, highlights include molotes – a fried appetizer made of football-shaped masa filled with chorizo, potatoes and cheese, topped with refried beans, cabbage, queso fresco and salsa.
Picaditas, or sopes, are another signature offering made with fresh blue or white masa, topped with asiento (unrefined pork lard), refried beans, cheese, chopped cilantro, onions and salsa. The extensive menu also includes appetizers such as chapulines (seasoned grasshoppers) along with grilled chicken and steak, fajitas, burritos, enchiladas and many other tempting choices.
From the bar, alcoholic options include beer and margaritas. “Our most popular margarita is made with mezcal,” Soriano says. “In Oaxaca, we use more mezcal than tequila.” Agua frescas are also available, in house-made flavors including horchata, Jamaica (hibiscus) and tamarind.
“I just want people to know that authentic Mexican food is more than just Tex-Mex,” Soriano says. “I’m excited to bring my version of Oaxacan food to St. Louis so people can come try something different they haven’t had yet. I’m pretty sure they’re going to love it.”
La Oaxaqueña, 2925 Lemay Ferry Rd., St. Louis, 314-200-8212, laoaxaquenastl.com
Photo by Mabel Suen
Photo by Mabel Suen
Photo by Mabel Suen
Photo by Mabel Suen
Photo by Mabel Suen
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Photo of Jaime Rosas and Yolanda Soriano by Mabel Suen

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