Best Of 2021

Best Restaurant Success Story: Taqueria Durango

Bertha Lopez, Miguel Lopez, Angelica Lopez and Yesenia Lopez.
Last March, before COVID-19 wreaked havoc on life as we know it, Taqueria Durango (10238 Page Avenue, Overland; 314-429-1113) was suffering its own tragedy. The restaurant, thought by many loyal patrons to be the best Mexican eatery in town, burned to the ground, the result of a kitchen fire that started during its lunch service. In the year that followed, the pandemic only made the restaurant’s rebuild all the more difficult. But with the help of the community — including an online fundraiser started by chef Brian Hardesty — the restaurant was able to rebuild, finally reopening a little over a year from when the blaze made it seem questionable whether it would ever again do so. That Taqueria Durango is standing today as the bastion of Mexican cuisine it once was, if not even more so, is the hopeful story we need to let us know that we’re all going to be alright. —Cheryl Baehr