By encompassing the intrinsic values of the Buddha, we believe in a sense of purpose and strength through humility, and ascribe to the values of harmony and peace in everything we do. May our efforts be reflected in the quality products we offer to our customers each day and the thankfulness for the opportunity to do so.
We are predominantly a “scratch kitchen,” utilizing simple ingredients from a variety of sources. We believe tacos are humble vessels from which international flavors can be combined to satisfy our meat-eating, as well as our vegetarian and vegan customers.
A big part of our story involves the exclusive use of authentic New Mexican hatch green chiles in our recipes. We source these from an area stretching north and south along the Rio Grande, encompassing the Southeast region of Hatch, New Mexico. The soil and growing conditions in the Hatch Valley create an atmosphere that infuses the heady flavor of the chiles grown there. The green chile pepper flavor has been described as lightly pungent, similar to an onion or garlic with a subtly sweet, spicy, crisp and smoky taste. The ripened red chile retains the same flavor, but adds an earthiness and bite while aging mellows the front-heat and delivers more of a back-heat.
The chile pepper is New Mexico's state vegetable, and the official state question is: “Are you red or green?” Those who prefer the delightful mix of green and red chiles are known to enjoy their dishes “Christmas style.”
Meet Our Chef, Ben McArthur
After a few years working in area kitchens, Ben headed to North Carolina where he was hired by James Beard nominated chef, Keith Rhodes. Chef Keith took Ben under his wing and taught him an innovative approach that he has carried with him ever since. He introduced him to day-boat seafood like Carolina soft shells, black grouper and striped bass and showed him markets where produce was bought out of pickup trucks and the oyster were harvested out of the local by-waters. Ben learned the importance of using regional ingredients and involving the restaurant in the community whenever possible.
Armed with this experience, Ben moved back to St. Louis and attended both L’Ecole Culinaire and Forest Park Community College where he earned managerial and culinary degrees. From there, he worked at some of the top restaurants in St. Louis where he expanded and perfected his culinary skills. He also built long-term relationships with farmers in both Illinois and Missouri with whom he continues to work today.
Ben opened J McArthur’s An American Kitchen in July of 2015. J McArthur’s was named as one of the top ten best new restaurants of 2015 by Sauce and Feast Magazines, and the Riverfront Times, third best new restaurant of 2015 by Ian Froeb of the Post Dispatch, awarded Ian Froeb’s GO Top 100 restaurants and his beignets and scallops as the best new dishes of 2015. He was also nominated for Best Chef from both Sauce and Feast Magazines for 2015.
Ben is thrilled to join the Taco Buddha family as the Chef Consultant and assist with Concept Development. He is also excited to bring his culinary talents to special event menus influenced by Southwestern, Mexican, and Texas flavor profiles.
Taco Buddha Is a Transportive Trip to New Mexico .... and Beyond
"A deft touch is evident in all the vibrant flavors on offer, like the succulent shredded beef barbacoa. Hunks of rich beef the consistency of pot roast fill a warm corn tortilla to the point you'd think it might burst. Lettuce, onions, cilantro and lime cut through the richness; cojita cheese and avocado add to it.
Dinner & A Show: Taco Buddha
"When I came up with the name, I was thinking about something that opened up tacos to be inclusive to everything and accepting of every type of food,” Eller says. “We’re just offering honest, simple ingredients that we layer to create different flavors – humble street food."
Taco Buddha Is Now Open in University City
“Taco Buddha offers just what you would expect from its name: tacos. The flavors, however, are delightfully unexpected, representing the owners’ travels through the American southwest, Mexico, the Caribbean, India and Asia, and limited only by their imagination.”
Taco Buddha to open in University City
“Taco Buddha is world flavors put into the vessel of a taco,” said owner Kurt Eller. Eller, who came to St. Louis from Austin, Texas, said his tacos are similar to those served in the Southwest. “It’s not strictly meat and lettuce and cheese,” he said.
Taco Buddha: St. Louis' Latest New Mexican Restaurant
“As my tired-of-hearing-about-Corinthian-columns friends know, I'm equally obsessed with architectural details as I am with trying new foods. So when I discovered that there was a new restaurant serving New Mexican food in a well-designed setting, I got a little too excited.”
The best new St. Louis restaurants to try during the month of October
Taco Buddha Brings Globally Inspired Tacos to University City
"Eller spent much of his hospitality career in Austin, Texas, where he owned and operated several restaurants. Throughout the ‘90s, he also traveled to cities including Miami, Atlanta and San Antonio to manage various businesses that spanned everything from taco joints to high-end fusion concepts."
Taco Buddha opens on a quiet corner in University City
"It might be the size of a pocket hanky, but thanks to an owner familiar with snug sailboat galleys, these tight quarters don't cramp any part of Taco Buddha’s style. "
Taco Buddha opens in University City
“Taco Buddha serves Austin style tacos with international flare or as owner Kurt Eller puts it, "Humble vessels that have all kinds of different flavors from around the world," he said."
“Taco Buddha serves more than breakfast tacos, though, and the menu is not limited to Mexican or Tex-Mex influences, either. “We do infuse a lot of international flavors” in the tacos, Eller says. Examples include jerk and tandoori chicken.”