It’s Monday so you know we’re already thinking about Taco Tuesday. We stopped by Westmont, NJ to check out Central Taco & Tequila, the newest and 23rd restaurant operated by PJW Restaurant Group. Central, opened Winter 2018, this modern Mexican eatery at 350 Haddon Avenue, marks the PJW restaurant group’s fourth concept on the same half-mile stretch of the avenue- including P.J. Whelihan’s, Treno Pizza Bar, and The Pour House.

“When the opportunity presented itself to open on Haddon Avenue, we couldn’t say no,” said Jim Fris, CEO, PJW Restaurant Group. “We love our customers and the community we’ve been a part of for over two decades. Because the Avenue is already home to three of our concepts, we knew it was the perfect place to dive into something new. Central Taco and Tequila is the result of countless rounds of margaritas, tacos and tequila tastings by a truly dedicated staff that pushed to make this concept as seamless, fun and friendly as the last 22 restaurants.”

The 150-seat-plus restaurant, formerly The Irish Mile, is open and boasts an industrial feel designed by Stokes Architecture with a raised the roof of the building to create an airy atmosphere and exposed wooden beams and rafters, where string lights hang to create the fun, festive atmosphere. Exposed brick walls and cinderblock walls feature one-of-a-kind murals by local Philadelphia artist, Gibbs Connors, who also created the exterior signage. Guests dine on large wooden tables were made by Pennsylvania Amish carpenters from the remnants of a Lancaster barn.

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We enjoyed that the menu is broken up into a variety of small plates, you can even mix and match your tacos with the option of ordering one of each type. We stated off with the Tuna Tostada which features cubes of soy citrus marinated ahi tuna, drizzpled with chipotle crema, avocado, and topped with crispy leeks. This light dish is great for health conscious diners. Other healthy choices include Shrimp Coctel which is chilled shrimp in a spiced tomato sauce with avocado and cucumber or the Mexican Street Bowl filled with blistered corn, cotija cheese, roasted jalapeño, pico de gallo, pinto beans, avocado, crispy tortilla strips, radish, farro, arugula, and chipotle lime vinaigrette. Guests can also choose to add their own protein like grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, or carne asada.

Other classics on the menu include Tortilla Chips with a variety of dips: Guacamole, Queso, or the Salsa Trio with salsa morita, salsa verde, and roasted jalapeño pico de gallo. Nachos are offered up on a metal tray topped with queso oaxaca, monterey jack cheese, cotija cheese, pickled red onion, roasted jalapeño pico de gallo, black beans, and drizzled with crema. Burritos, tacos, Central Taco has it all on the menu- Burritos are loaded up with mexican rice, pinto beans, guacamole, roasted jalapeño pico de gallo, crema, monterey jack cheese,and your choice of protein inside a warm flour tortilla. There is also the option for a Burrito Bowl or wet “mojada” style burrito.

We enjoyed some of the non-traditional tacos the best during our visit, the Spicy Crispy Chicken Taco was filled with buttermilk soaked, corn flour dusted chicken breast, queso fresco, chipotle crema, cabbage, pickled onion, cilantro (reminiscent of buffalo chicken). And we love that Central offers both a Fried Fish Taco and a Grilled Fish Taco made with mahi mahi, crema, cabbage and salsa. More traditional Mexican options include Al Pastor Tacos, Carne Asada Tacos, and Carnitas Tacos. For dessert they’re even serving up Churros with dipping sauce, and a Shortbread Skillet Cookie with vanilla ice cream and cinnamon sugar.

And let us not forget about the impressive bar menu including 118 agave-based spirits. That’s 91 tequilas, 26 mezcals and one sotol varietal. Five flights are available including a Mexican Spirits flight featuring a tequila, mezcal and sotol. While the Single Village flight highlights three mezcals by Del Maguey. The cocktail menu offers guests 10 margarita options and 9 other specialty cocktails. The beer list even offers Mexican lagers and a selection of local South Jersey beers by Tonewood, Double Nickel and King’s Road.

Plus check out Happy Hour at Central every Monday through Friday, from 4 – 6 pm, with $6 Central margaritas, $5 Tonewood Fuego drafts, $5 glasses of vinho verde and malbec, and $4 Mexican beers, including Modelo drafts and bottles of Corona, Pacifico, Dos Equis, Tecate, and Negra Modela!

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