Vaya Con Dillas – a hot spot for fast-casual Mexican fare that launched in downtown St. Louis last fall – tempts visitors with quesadillas, salads, tacos and more, sharing a kitchen in the same space as its sister eatery, The Note Bar.
Both restaurants are owned by Lawrence Group, replacing its previous restaurant, Alumni. Executive chef and general manager Ryan Hecht, who also runs The Note Bar, worked with sous-chef Alejandro Lopez to develop the menu of handcrafted cuisine. Lopez previously worked as a cook at area restaurants, including Webster Groves’ Milagro Modern Mexican.
According to Hecht, the restaurant’s name is a play on words, riffing on the common Spanish farewell vaya con Dios, which means “go with God.” Although the restaurant can be accessed around the corner from The Note Bar’s primary seating area, it also has its own separate entrance.
“We wanted to have a food option for people who need to get in and out quickly that was still handcrafted and high quality,” Hecht says. “Everything from our salsas to our meats are made in house. The mojo pork, for example, is basically a three-stage cooking process where we braise it, then roast it and slow-cook it down in a medley of citrus fruits and different Mexican spices.”
Guests can get the mojo pork on a corn tortilla taco or in a quesadilla such as the Hawaiano with mojo pork, pork belly carnitas, pineapple-serrano pico, and Cotija and Chihuahua cheeses. Another popular quesadilla, the Reina, contains adobo-smoked chicken, chipotle-caramelized onions, roasted-corn pico and a blend of Mexican cheeses.
From the list of tacos, guests can choose from such combinations as carne asada with jalapeño jelly, chipotle-caramelized onion, cilantro and Cotija; chorizo with pepper jack, jalapeños, pico de gallo and cilantro; and chipotle-orange duck with curtido rojo (pickled coleslaw), arugula-cilantro slaw, avocado crema and Cotija.
Salad options include cárnico de pollo with mixed greens, Cotija, adobo-smoked chicken, roasted-corn pico, fire-roasted peppers and chipotle-ranch dressing. Sides include street corn on the cob, cilantro-lime rice and chips with a variety of dip options – guacamole, queso, black-bean pico, mango-habanero salsa and tres diablos salsa (made with ghost peppers, scorpion peppers and Carolina Reaper peppers), to name a few.
To drink, guests can choose from such options as Mexico’s bottled Jarritos soda, a Mexican lager brewed by St. Louis’ Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. and regular and strawberry margaritas made with Mexico’s Tres Agaves tequila. (Around the corner, it bears mentioning, The Note Bar carries such options as Modelo and Corona beer to complement Vaya Con Dillas’ food.)
All things considered, Vaya Con Dillas would make the perfect spot to fill up on a multitude of delicious food and drink combinations before seeing New Line Theatre’s La Cage aux Folles at the Marcelle, and Hecht says, “We’re happy to bring more handcrafted traditional Mexican food to downtown St. Louis.”
Vaya Con Dillas, 200 N. 13th St., St. Louis, 314-241-5888, vayathenote.com