10-month mole?!

Houston's coolest food court unveils innovative new Mexican pop-up

Houston's coolest food court unveils innovative new Mexican pop-up

Tlahuac ribs al pastor
Ribs al pastor. Courtesy of NextSeed
Tlahuac team NextSeed Space
Tlahuac is ready to serve diners. Courtesy of NextSeed
Tlahuac cafe de olla concha
Cafe de Olla concha. Courtesy of NextSeed
Tlahuac ribs al pastor
Tlahuac team NextSeed Space
Tlahuac cafe de olla concha

Houston's coolest food court has an exciting new tenant that will only be serving for a limited time. Tlahuac (pronounced “kla-wok”) took over the NextSeed Space at The Hub at Greenway Plaza. Open from now until the end of June, it replaces the Waffle Bus, which operated in the space during the month of March.

The brainchild of chef Nicolas Vera (Underbelly, Southern Goods, Xochi) and pastry chef Stephanie Velasquez (Weights + Measures, Xochi), Tlahuac serves up traditional Mexican dishes made with modern techniques and carefully selected ingredients that either are locally sourced or imported from Mexico. For example, Vera's mole madre is aged for 10 months, and Velasquez's pan dulce utilize cacao from Paraíso, Tabasco. Volovanes de Jamón, a turnover filled with ham, spinach, and cheese, takes its inspiration from a dish that's popular in Veracruz. 

Unlike the Waffle Bus, which has a devoted following thanks to its popular food truck and is preparing to open a restaurant in The Heights later this year, Tlahuac is still very much under development, but the pop-up has attracted some serious buzz in the food community. Plugged-in diners may have already sampled some of its food at events such as the Eight Row Flint Tuesday night cookies series, Wooster's Garden's recent anniversary party, and pop-ups at Axelrad Beer Garden.

"We think they're incredibly talented and passionate, and doing something that's new and innovative," NextSeed co-founder and CMO Abe Chu tells CultureMap. "But, they're also not at a point in their journey where they're ready to raise capital and commit to a permanent space. We created NextSeed Space as a platform for new ideas to be harnessed and nurtured, and Tlahuac really exemplifies the type of business that we think can really benefit from this type of approach."

In other words, the next three months are a bit of experiment to determine whether Vera and Velasquez can turn their part-time passion project into a real business. The Hub at Greenway Plaza already has served as an incubator for three restaurants — The Rice Box, burger-chan, and Feges BBQ — and as the original location of Greenway Coffee, which has since spawned affiliated shops such as Blacksmith and Morningstar. If all goes well, the chefs could utilize NextSeed's crowd funding platform to raise the necessary revenue to open a permanent location.