New taco restaurant brings 'traditional' Mexican dishes to Kent

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

KENT — When Miguel Rojas was growing up in Mexico, his family members taught him how to make traditional dishes.

“I learned from my grandmother, parents, uncle and other family members,” said Rojas, who recently opened Rojas Tacos at 12 Kent Green Blvd., in the space formerly occupied by Namoo, a Korean barbecue restaurant, which has closed.

Miguel owns Rojas Tacos with his uncle, Esteban Rojas. Other family members, including his aunts, mother, and nephews work also work at the restaurant.

The restaurant, which seats 55 people and is open Thursday to Sunday, serves all homemade recipes from Miguel Rojas’ grandmothers, Maria and Petra, who still live in Mexico. The menu includes tacos, quesadillas, tostadas, and burritos.

Traditional dishes

Miguel Rojas said he opened Rojas Tacos because he and his family wanted to bring traditional Mexican dishes to the community.

Everything at Rojas Tacos is made from scratch, on the premises, according to Rojas, adding he’s not in favor of some of the more American versions of Mexican dishes, one of which is putting sour cream on tacos.

“When you go to a Mexican restaurant and order a taco, the first thing they say is ‘Do you want a taco with sour cream?’ And I’m like, ‘You don’t eat a taco with sour cream,’” Rojas said. “That would be very ridiculous in Mexico to eat a taco with sour cream.”

According to Rojas, a taco should come in a corn tortilla, and served with cilantro and onion, and topped with salsa, “and that’s a traditional Mexican taco.”

The Kent resident also said he never preheats the meat for the tacos. “Everything is made in the day, so that it’s as fresh as possible,” he said.

“I don’t make a batch that’s going to last me for two days. I make a batch that’s going to last me a day, and if I run out of stuff, then I run out of stuff. I tell people it’s sold out, and that’s it,” he said. “If I have a chance to make a new batch at the moment just to get the person happy, I’ll make it.”

Mexican roots

Most of the Rojas family is from Mexico City and Puebla.

“My uncle and grandfather were farmers. We used to own a lot of land, and also, farm other people’s land,” Rojas said. “We used to grow many vegetables, such as corn and cabbage.”

Rojas was 6 years old when his grandmothers began teaching him how to cook. The earliest dish he said he remembers making is vegetable stew.

His grandmother, Petra, owns a small food store in Mexico and gives Miguel and Esteban ideas about traditional foods.

Prior to opening the restaurant, Miguel and Esteban worked in landscape construction and also spent time as cooks — for Italian, Chinese and Korean restaurants in New York in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

“It’s so great to see new businesses opening in town, especially as we continue in this recovery phase,” Kent First Selectman Jean Speck said.

She added she’s proud of how “supportive our community” is of each other.

“It’s one of the very special things about Kent,” she said.

While Rojas owns a house in Mexico and plans to occasionally make trips back to his hometown, he said he’s now focused on his new business.

“Right now, if the business works, this is where we want to retire,” he said.

Rojas Tacos is open from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. For more information, call 860-592-0742.

sfox@milfordmirror.com