Here’s something different for Fresno: A Mexican restaurant that is always vegan, has organic and non-genetically modified food whenever possible and has a mostly gluten-free menu. Flacos has opened inside Strummer’s in the Tower District. (If you need a reminder, Strummer’s is the former Starline at 833 E. Fern St. in the Tower District and the restaurant is in the half that used to be called Starline Grill.) Strummer’s is still Strummer’s and has the same bar service and loud music that the bar has always had. (You may remember Flacos tested out serving meals on Fridays back in March. Now it’s a permanent restaurant.)
Some of the dishes at Flacos use a meat substitute, such as the textured soy protein in the taquitos (it tastes like chicken). Other dishes don’t require any meat substitutes, such as the pozole or huarache — an organic corn tortilla with avocado, refried pinto beans (no lard in ‘em), rice, cilantro, onions, cabbage, radish and salsa. (Pictured at right is the banana leaf tamale with avocado salsa.) You can see the full menu online here. Owner Antonio Magaña owns a restaurant with the same name and menu in Berkeley.
If Fresno seems like a strange choice for such a crunchy (as in granola, though that’s not on the menu) type of restaurant, well, here’s what Magaña says about that: Vegans are a loyal group who are seeking out good places to eat and there’s a limited number of them in Fresno. “Our mission in Fresno isn’t to say, ‘Hey Fresno, you need to be vegan,’” he says. “Our mission is to say ‘If you want to try something different, we’re here.’”
Flacos is serving dinner from 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.