Steve Santana and Washington Charles, chef and co-founder of Taquiza and The Grdn
Why they’re Food 50: They’ve taken tacos to a new level (in a hostel), and now they’re raising the bar on craft beer and hot dogs (in another hostel).
A web developer turned chef, Steve Santana enlisted a knowledgeable set of consultants before opening Taquiza: Mexican friends and their relatives. They encouraged him and partner Washington Charles to do everything from scratch at their streetfront taco shop in South Beach. Santana soaks dried heirloom Mexican corn in a limestone solution — an ancient Aztec process called nixtamalization — before hand-cranking it through a grinder to make Taquiza’s masa dough for tortillas and chips. Their spot in the HI Miami Beach Hostel has been elevating the humble taco since late 2014.
Up next for Santana and Charles: The Grdn, located a few blocks away at the Beds & Drinks Hostel, will be a craft beer garden with a gourmet hot dog cart. If Santana and Charles can do for hot dogs what they’ve done with tacos, we’re all in.
Where to find them: Taquiza Miami, 1506 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-748-6099; and The Grdn, 1676 James Ave., Miami Beach