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The Oyster House Crew is Opening Mission Taqueria in Center City This Week

The Nodding Head space has undergone a complete transformation

When Eater first learned of Mission, it was destined to be an indoor beer garden in the space that once held Sansom Street's Nodding Head Brewery, but that was over two months ago. Much can change in two months, especially in this biz, and as owner Sam Mink (owner of the venerable Oyster House), co-owner Brett Naylor (current Oyster House executive chef), GM Daniel McLaughlin and chef Andrew Sabin developed the menu, Mission looked more and more like a taqueria-first, and beer garden-second.

So now, Mission has become Mission Taqueria, opening this Thursday, August 11, at 1516 Sansom Street, above Oyster House.

Despite the name-change, the physical space is still pretty open-air and fun like any beer garden. Designed by Hope Velocette of Chrysalis Studio, the 4,500 sq. ft. room incorporates an intense amount of natural lighting (courtesy of six large skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows), plus a central dining room courtyard with fooseball and shuffleboard tables, and tons of picnic table seating.

Sabin, the Garces Group vet who was last seen running the kitchen in Chestnut Hill's El Poquito, worked closely with Naylor to construct a menu which featured everything to love about a traditional taqueria, but with a modern flare and wood-fire grill. So, yes, al pastor, street-style corn and churros are all on the menu, but there's also tlayuda (Mexican pizza) and a lamb barbacoa feast for four, Middle Eastern-style with quinoa tabouleh and sesame tzatziki. There are cocktails made with fresh juices, plus an impressive collection of tequila and mezcal compiled by beverage manager Christina Rando, who also brought on 8-tap draft system of Mexican lagers, craft locals, sparkling wines, margaritas and the "Rosita", a Mexi-groni made of reposado tequila, Campari and sweet vermouth.

When it opens, it'll be dinner-only, but lunch and brunch will follow soon after.

Pictures and menus to come.

Mission Taqueria

1516 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA