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If you’re a Texan, you’re most likely familiar with taquerias, shops and restaurants specializing in tacos or burritos.  But now, there’s a new version in town—the enchiladeria. 

37-year restaurant veteran Monica Greene, owner and founder of BEE Enchiladeria, coined the term “enchiladeria” specifically for her new fast-casual dining concept, using the word to describe BEE as a “fun place to buy great food.”  But don’t forget about the “BEE” part—it means “Best Enchiladas Ever,” a promise the restaurant plans to uphold.

BEE: Best Enchiladas Ever

Located in Oak Cliff, BEE Enchiladeria’s culinary efforts are focused on creating specialty enchiladas, made from the highest-quality natural and organic ingredients available.

Greene, who also owns the praised, full-service Monica’s Aca y Alla restaurant in Deep Ellum, chose a different business strategy for BEE.  “I have simply set out to make a contemporary and appealing Mexican food menu,” she says, adding that “our dishes are exotic, but uncomplicated,” something that Greene feels is attractive to customers in the casual atmosphere of Oak Cliff.

BEE Enchiladeria isn’t your typical fast food restaurant.  Walking in, customers fill out an enchilada order form, choosing from an assortment of slow-cooked meat.  You even get to see your enchilada being prepared, customizing your meal with up to 1,100 topping and sauce combinations available.  That means, if desired, you could order a different combo of ingredients every time you visited BEE and never come close to creating an enchilada similar to one you ordered previously.  Now, that is variety.

With custom order forms, a watch-while-it’s-made concept and hand-made margaritas, BEE Enchiladeria is an entertaining experience for customers.  Greene says that people love the style of the restaurant and are responding to BEE’s design extremely well.  “In its short life, BEE has been an incredible success with the food critics and customers alike,” she says.  “I have been in the restaurant business for the past 37 years and I have never gotten so much positive attention in any of the concepts I’ve ever opened or have been a part of.”

BEE’s restaurant design isn’t its only appeal.  BEE’s enchiladas are definitely its main selling point.  The restaurant’s sauces are completely homemade, incorporating traditional Mexican flavors into hand-pulled, natural meats.  Greene boasts that there are no canned products used in the creation of BEE’s organic enchiladas. 

She attributes BEE’s use of organic products to the progressive nature of the restaurant.  “You expect certain things from a Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant.” Greene says, adding that these expectations include simple, unpretentious food that is superbly flavored.  Large portions at affordable prices are also an important quality of Mexican/Tex-Mex cuisine.  BEE Enchiladeria, however, takes it a step further to supplement Mexican/Tex-Mex standards with an unexpected twist.  

BEE: Best Enchiladas Ever

“What you don’t expect is fast food using fresh, bold, organic ingredients and a more stylish presentation for the price,” Greene says, adding that, “the menu strategy is targeted to attract a combination of foodie/health conscious and Mexican food lovers.  In the healthy and veggie-centric food scene, there are very few concepts pushing the envelope forward.  The more progressive efforts are only happening in the high price range restaurants.”  She says that luckily for BEE, the average American has become more sophisticated, bold and adventurous, even at the fast food or fast-casual levels. 

Noting the boldness of her customers, Greene didn’t just casually choose a location for BEE—she chose Oak Cliff for specific reasons.  She credits Oak Cliff’s cozy, peaceful atmosphere and diverse, environmentally conscious crowd with her decision to open BEE in the community.  “I thought that BEE easily would match the eclectic tastes of the people living, working and playing in and around the Bishop Arts District and downtown,” Greene says.  

BEE isn’t just a restaurant to Greene, but rather the chance to create a social opportunity within the neighborhood.  “BEE is based on a radically new eating concept,” she says.  “Drinking and socializing are habits of our Texas culture, and BEE offers the perfect atmosphere for that.” 

Make sure to stop by BEE for a custom enchilada and frozen margarita.  You won’t “bee” disappointed! 

BEE Enchiladeria is located at 202 W. Davis Street in Oak Cliff.

-Photos courtesy of BEE Enchiladeria

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