When it comes to making authentic, upscale Tex-Mex food, preparation and time are of the essence. That is why Jose Mendez, chef at Los Compadres, gets to the restaurant at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays to prepare the meat for his famous, always sold-out birria tacos.

“I guess you can say [cooking] comes out of the heart,” Mendez said.

Los Compadres in Roanoke is the third concept restaurant opened June 2020 by Mendez and Jack Layman, who also own Jack & Grill Sports Bar and Bayou Jack’s Cajun Grill in town. The partners met in 1999 when Layman—a proprietor at Rockfish Seafood Grill in Southlake—hired Mendez.

“We came up with the name [Los Compadres] because it’s a partnership and we’re like amigos—we’re buddies,” Layman said.

The restaurant’s Mexico City-style recipes are all derived from Mendez’s family—his mother, aunt and wife all contributed their knowledge to the menu. Using only fresh, high-quality ingredients, everything on the menu is homemade.

“Most people love Tex-Mex and we realized that most Tex-Mex is kind of mediocre, and we also saw the value in how mediocre Tex-Mex restaurants charge too much,” Layman said. “So for our quality and for what we do, our prices are about the same as [competitors].”

Popular menu items include pozole, a spicy traditional Mexican soup made from hominy—coarsely ground corn—pork, chile peppers, jalapenos and oregano. The soup is served with cabbage, onions, radishes and cilantro.

“We really do work hard on trying to make sure the quality is where it needs to be,” Layman said. “I think you would be pleasantly surprised [about the food quality]. You’ll be able to tell the difference ... we don’t skimp.”

Los Compadres — 320 S. Oak St., Ste. 100, Roanoke. 682-237-7867 www.loscompadrescantina.com Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.