For thirty years this month, Joe’s Taco Lounge has been churning out fantastic Mexican fare at 382 Miller Avenue in Mill Valley.
One of the 94941’s most celebrated gastronomic institutions, Joe’s is built on the foundation established by co-owner Gabriel Leis’ inimitable late father Joe Leis, who founded Joe’s in 1992.
In the years since, Gabriel Leis has consistently struck the perfect balance between longstanding tradition with an expansive menu and newer innovations like the jolt of adrenaline that came from the 2019 launch of Cup of Joe’s coffee cart just outside the doors of the 94941 landmark. Cup of Joe’s is, not surprisingly, named after Leis’ father.
The cart uses Linea, the coffee roasting company founded by Andrew Barnett, a renowned figure in the coffee world who founded Ecco Coffee, which he later sold to Intelligentsia Coffee. Leis also leaned on the venerable La Marzocco machine, and the cart itself was made by Carriage Works in Klamath Falls, Ore., pastries from Starter Bakery in Berkeley, bagels from Baron Baking in Oakland, and special barista milk from Straus Family Creamery.
The cart has become a morning gathering place on Miller Ave. for neighbors and commuters. It’s also established the cart as a beacon of sorts at the most hectic intersection Mill Valley – Montford and Miller avenues. Manager Enrique “Rico” Ruiz regularly has his hands full serving up coffee, lattes, pastries and breakfast burritos. But in recent years, he’s taken on the unexpected-yet-vital role as a quick-footed crossing guard.
Oh, and you bet your life that Joe’s wasn’t launching a coffee cart without serving up its very own delicious breakfast burritos at it.
The 411: Joe’s Taco Lounge turns 30 this month!