First Look: Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina Opens in the St. Louis Galleria
|Fried Plantains and charro beans at Vida.|
Purchasing from local vendors also allows the restaurant to create the freshest food possible. Even its tortilla chips are made fresh to order. "You'll never see a big bin of chips back in the kitchen, " Swinyard says. "We fire those up every ten to fifteen minutes, all day long."
The made-to-order philosophy also means that almost any dish can be made vegetarian- or vegan-friendly. We're not talking a lame quesadilla with a side of rice, either. You can get a fully loaded veggie burrito, vegetarian beans or even fried plantains.
Rease Kirchner The "Coronarita" frozen margarita at Vida.
"We originally had two different kinds of beans on the menu, one made with lard and one that was vegetarian-friendly," Swinyard explains. "In the end, we decided to just serve the vegetarian option. We also mark menu items when they are gluten-free. About 80 percent of our menu is gluten-free as it is, actually."
As to Vida's desired demographic, operating partner Drew Graefe says, "We're looking for the style of person who wants to have fun and enjoy life on a daily basis." With specials such as $2 tacos after 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and shareable drinks such as the 60-ounce "Tablerita Margarita," we'd expect that's definitely the type of crowd you can expect to see at Vida.
After parading out several drinks such as crowd favorite "Coronarita" (a margarita served with a mini Corona bottle turned upside down in the glass), Swinyard chuckles and says, "The whole reason to be involved in this is there is something fun about going to a Mexican restaurant. We're trying to emulate that. Fun food with simple, defined flavors."
Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina is currently open 11 a.m. to midnight on Mondays and Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 to 1:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It offers daily happy hours from 3 to 7 p.m. with $2 tacos after 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, and a weekly Saturday brunch.