Discovering TACOS & BEER was a happy day. The sign over the artsy restaurant clearly states that you can find a taco and beer of some kind here. Challenge accepted! We had to experience it for ourselves, so we made an instant decision to turn into the parking lot to check them out.
Upon entering, we were greeted with a super-cool vibe with a distinct emphasis on artisan and hand-crafted comfort. Our eyes wandered across the room to the beautiful paintings, large hand-carved wall sculpture, tap handles to complement their impressive selection, and a colorful hand-drawn beer menu.
While we were there, we met Melissa, the resident artist at TACOS & BEER who also serves as a bartender. We happened to find her on a ladder with tools in hand, creating a vibrant beer chalkboard menu of hand-crafted brews. Concentrating on her work, we watched as she added flair to the lettering with her chalk markers. She noticed us and explained that the list is ever-changing, which makes working there exciting and fun.
Intrigued, we asked Melissa a few questions while we sat at the bar having ordered, you guessed it, tacos and beer. By the way, their menu features nearly two-dozen taco choices, along with other traditional Mexican foods, all made fresh, and oh so tasty!
Melissa shared that she and her sister were Air Force babies, born in the Philippines. The family moved to Las Vegas when she was nine, which means for all intents and purposes, Melissa is a local Las Vegan. Not only is she that, but she’s also tough. This petite bubbly young woman was a Roller Derby girl in the Fabulous Sin City Roller Girls league!
Melissa’s first bartending job was about four years ago when Whole Foods on Las Vegas Blvd. launched its wine and beer bar. That’s where everything changed for Melissa. She fell in love with beer.
So she studied and learned as much as she could about the craft-beer world and passed her Cicerone Level One Certified Beer Server course as quickly as she could. It was a year or so later when she joined the crew at TACOS & BEER.
Currently, Melissa is excited to be studying for the Cicerone Level Two Program, which she describes as an awesome twenty-week course.
The test is in late October, and the failure rate is 90%, Mellissa told us.
“The classes are so informative it will only help me. The first level was easy in comparison; the second level you have to get over 70% overall score to pass, and it’s way more extensive. The students have to go through a blind taste test, recognize off-flavor notes, be knowledgeable about the history of beer, different beer styles, and how to brew. We will learn how to care for the draft line, change a coupler, and just about everything related to beer.”
And as enthusiastic as Melissa is about learning more about beer, Melissa is just as excited about creating art.
“I love pin-ups, anything cartooney, retro, roller-skate girls, drawing Pikachu for my daughter, and creating images about beer, hamburgers, and of course tacos, which are super fun to draw!
Melissa remembers drawing since the age of three and loves to draw people. Recently she had a few pieces of artwork displayed and was delighted that people bought them up.
“I drew some stuff up for TACOS & BEER, and they decided to do stickers out of them, so that’s pretty fun.”
Melissa told us that the best part of serving beer is all the people you meet and the opportunities that come with this community that supports one another.
“I’m currently doing some mock-ups for a new art commission at FIREFLY Tapas Kitchen & Bar. I want to dive into painting murals, like in Downtown around the Arts District. I have a little Etsy shop online, and my goal is to revamp it with some new digital art to go on stickers and pins!”
It’s a great pairing, the art of the taco and great craft-beers.
TACOS & BEER, located at 3900 Paradise Rd A, Las Vegas, NV 89169 is an intimate family-friendly dining experience with great ambiance. We fell in love with this place, the staff, and the people we’ve met there, so we make it a point to stop in when we visit that part of town.
Beat the summer heat, and take care of your taco cravings, washed down with a great craft brew. Make sure you say “hi” to Melissa (the one on the ladder), and ask her about her stickers.
Pick up a printed copy of Nevada Beer Quest while you’re there.
Find Melissa Jayne on Instagram@cherryjayne90