Craft Coffee Comes to Houston Taco Restaurant on Shepherd Drive

The entrance to Tío Trompo taquería on Shepherd. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Tío Trompo taquería, located at 316 Shepherd, has partnered with Houston coffee professional Jonathan Elkins to launch an in-house coffee program called White Tile Café. The program started on Friday, December 29 and offers craft coffee, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos and more. Guests can enjoy the new drinks  alongside some of Houston’s best tacos and trompo, a Mexican adaptation of shawarma consisting of marinated pork roasted on a spit (which is also known as a trompo). 

Houston coffee professional Jonathan Elkins has partnered with Tío Trompo taquería to launch White Tile Café. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Houston coffee professional Jonathan Elkins has partnered with Tío Trompo taquería to launch White Tile Café. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Elkins, who has been in the industry for nearly two decades, cut his teeth in local coffee shops Java Pura Coffee Roasters and Boomtown Coffee before going on to help manage and open both Mercantile locations, Retrospect Coffee Bar, the late Tea + Victory and the Briargrove and Buffalo Heights locations of The Roastery H-E-B’s short-lived foray into the coffee shop business. 

White Tile Café uses Amaya Coffee's "Temporada" seasonal espresso. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
White Tile Café uses Amaya Coffee’s “Temporada” seasonal espresso. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

After H-E-B decided to close all four The Roastery locations in 2021, Elkins launched his own pop-up coffee bar called Blue Tile Coffee. Soon after, he was approached by the owner of Houston-based real estate company BKR Memorial, whom he met during his time managing The Roastery, about bringing a coffee shop back to the Buffalo Heights property that houses H-E-B and the St. Andrie luxury apartments. A deal was struck and Elkins was brought on as a sweat equity partner along with all of his creative assets including the name and concept itself. The brick-and-mortar location of Blue Tile Coffee opened at the beginning of 2023 and was well-received, but by the end of summer Elkins parted ways with the company.

Tío Trompo proprietor Ricardo Supiciche. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Tío Trompo proprietor Ricardo Supiciche. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Now he has partnered with Tío Trompo owner and Rice University alumnus Ricardo Supiciche, whom he met and bonded with over two great passions: coffee and tacos. The two have set up a coffee bar inside the taquería, which is lined with white tile inspiring Supiciche to cheekily suggest the name White Tile Café. 

The White Tile Café coffee bar. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
The White Tile Café coffee bar. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

White Tile Café serves a full range of espresso-based drinks, utilizing a Rocket Espresso machine and Mahlkönig GH-2 Filter Coffee Grinder, as well as V60 pour-overs made with beans from local roaster Amaya Coffee. Elkins plans to introduce specialty drinks that fit the theme of the restaurant, including horchata-flavored coffees and café de olla

Tacos al pastor at Tío Trompo. Photo by Jonathan Elkins.
Tacos al pastor at Tío Trompo. Photo by Jonathan Elkins.

Supiciche, a native of Veracruz, draws crowds of hungry regulars and foodies of all walks of life for his mouth-watering, authentic Mexican fare. The menu includes highlights such as tacos and tortas al pastor, barbacoa, quesadillas, nachos, guacamole and tacos Árabes a Pueblan specialty of Middle Eastern influence consisting of succulent, well-seasoned white trompo (the almond-colored precursor to the scarlet-hued, adobo-marinated red trompo) wrapped in warm, pillowy-pita. The meats are the star of the show at Tío, particularly the aforementioned white trompo, which is also available in the Tacos Oriental. Family platters and taco kits are also offered at a fantastic value and are sure to make you the office or dinner-table hero. Supiciche runs a close-knit operation with just two other team members: lead taquero Miguel del Angel and kitchen generalist Juana Solis.

Quesadillas and Tacos Árabes at Tío Trompo. Photo by Jonathan Elkins.
Quesadillas and Tacos Árabes at Tío Trompo. Photo by Jonathan Elkins.

Breakfast tacos, with combinations of fillings including chorizo, eggs, beans, cheese, potatoes and huevos a la Mexicana, are available all day long in addition to the regular menu and Elkins told Houston Food Finder that Tío Trompo will be introducing a weekend brunch menu featuring migas, chilaquiles and locally-sourced pastries sometime close to the end of January.

Tío Trompo is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. White Tile is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Parking is available onsite and the restaurant is BYOB.

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