What’s that? Vegan TexMex? Is that even possible?!?!!?! Turns out that not only is it possible, it’s rather delicious, and it’s available a short drive north on Burnet. Nissi VegMex started as a trailer on the eastside and has opened its first brick-and-mortar at 9012 Research Boulevard, right on the southeastern corner of Burnet and 183 (you can sneak into Nissi from Burnet between Cavenders and the Olive Garden).
Sergio and Karen Tamez opened the original Nissi trailer in East Austin in 2018. After becoming concerned about animal treatment and meat’s impacts on the planet, Sergio became a vegan. Then he sought out better ways to produce vegan versions of the food from his childhood. As a result, he and his wife offer several different proteins, including several housemade versions designed to better reflect the texture of meats used in traditional Mexican cuisine.
The proteins include carne asada, picadillo, fajita, al pastor, chicharron, birria, and cheek’n (Chicken. Get it?). I wish their website was more informative on what is in the proteins, but rest assured that they are vegan. All your fave TexMex dishes are here, including tacos, burritos, flautas, chalupas, nachos, tamales, taquiza, and tostadas, as well as the sides, including refried beans, rice, chips, salsa, crema, and potato-based queso that we still need to try. If something is fatally wrong with your dinner date and they don’t like Mexican food, Nissi slings up housemade veggie burgers and birria ramen. For drinks, there’s Topo Chico, Mexican Coca-Cola, limeade, housemade hibiscus tea (from flowers!), and hempchata.
The Bride, who abstains from beef, was excited with Nissi’s Birria tacos that had all of the flavors but none of the moo and is one of Nissi’s signature dishes, as festive as it tastes. I’ve also had the nachos, a layered pile of goodness without the guilt. The servings are healthy in their non-beefiness but also in their portions. Some of their dishes take upwards of 30 minutes to prep, so be forewarned if you are in a hurry. Nissi is fast casual, but you can also order pick-up or delivery.
The Tamezs report that Nissi sources from the Old Testament for the word that means the god who opens paths. Nissi VegMex is opening new paths for vegan food that deliciously bridges the gap from vegan to TexMexican.
I wrote this review for the Allandale Neighbor.