Boca 31 Review

Holy paletas, Denton! Andres and Marlene Meraz have been in Texas for a little over a year and are serving up the best Latin street food you have ever tasted in Denton. Run, don’t walk, to Boca 31 as soon as you possibly can. 

Chef Andres is a high-profile chef who has worked his way around the world and somehow has landed in Texas, more specifically, a building in Denton. He has worked at four different Ritz Carlton’s, he was the Executive Chef at the Royal Palm in Miami, and has worked his way through kitchens in San Francisco. And boy, can this guy cook. 

The meats are mouthwatering, the aromas are intoxicating. There is always a friendly person behind the counter to help you decide what nosh you should be purchasing to stuff your face. Chef Andres can usually be found in the open-kitchen area preparing food for the next round of luckiest Dentonite’s to eat.

The fare is influenced by the Caribbean, South America, and Mexico. The focus of this joint is certainly the food, and it truly speaks for itself. The building, an old yellow beach-shanty, used to be home to Hoochie's Oyster House before they moved further into downtown. “There is no such thing as a perfect place,” Andres says. Pro-tip: their veggie tacos are to die for. (But please, don't die. Just eat tacos & be happy).

Menus are handwritten each morning and the items depend on what’s available. “I want to do whatever will be fresh, whatever I can get ahold of, and whatever will be fun and easy to cook with,” Andres says. The only things they have in their freezer are ice and paletas. Empanadas are made fresh every morning.

Andres has spent time travelling throughout the world, which has inspired his menu at Boca 31. “I lived 45 minutes away from the French border, we’d go to the Farmer’s market in France.” He would venture to France to get unique and fresh ingredients to whip up legendary dishes while residing in Spain.

“It’s been busy every day, which is great,” Andres says. Lines have been out the door, though, since opening last month. “I didn’t have any expectations. I’m just trying to roll with it, keep up, and to be true to my cooking.”

Boca 31 is located at 207 South Bell Avenue in Denton, Tx.

Photos and header image design by Shaina Sheaff.