Californian chain, Una Mas, comes to town with burritos, tacos and free chips and salsa for all Before you get carried away, be informed that the chips are free only if you place an order. And now, allow us to introduce you to Una Mas, the newest Mexican eatery to brave Chennai’s choppy restaurant scene. Expected to launch in a week, this is the brainchild of Californian Mike DiPietro, who launched his QSR-format Mexican chain in San Jose, in 1991. Expanding to India might have crossed DiPietro’s mind someday, but even before moving out of California (they have 20 branches in the state), his chain finds itself standing tall beside Domino’s on Kodambakkam High Road, thanks to Vidya Badrinath who refused to leave the US after a 16-year software career there, without a restaurant in tow.
Tacos and fish
“I love Mexican food,” begins Badrinath (now CEO of Spicevana Cuisines), who even considered a trip to Mexico to see if she could find a chef to create a special menu for Chennaites. But that was before she chanced upon Una Mas. At the restaurant, you first choose between a burrito, taco or quesadilla and then the ingredients that go into it, as you do a sweep of their counter that displays grilled chicken, black beans, guacamole and the like. Of course, they also offer set combinations for the not so experimental, put together by a team trained by the head chef in California. “Our menu is the same that is available in the US, except we don’t serve pork or beef,” says Badrinath, adding that for Chennai, Una Mas has introduced a chipotle grilled chicken and fish (basa) instead.
Since the restaurant was only on a trial run during our visit, we settled for a flavour-rich burrito (a big roll loaded with grilled chicken, salsa, cilantro rice and black beans) and horchata (a drink with ground almonds and rice). But we look forward to their many combos (Pepsi is their beverage partner) on our next visit.
For now, we’ll leave you saying that with imported ingredients (corn tortillas, chipotle peppers, etc), a quick service format and free WiFi, Una Mas might be the answer to those craving an express Mexican fix. Meal for two at approximately Rs.400. Details: 42014233
— Ryan Peppin