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Tampa taco joint combines authentic Mexican recipes with local staples

xTreme Tacos in Seminole Heights has grown from a food truck to a brick and mortar location by sharing traditional recipes from Cuautla, Morelos Mexico.

TAMPA, Fla. — Tacos are just as easy to find as pizza in Tampa, but not all tacos are created equal. A lot of work goes into creating tacos that let the best ingredients shine.

That work starts early each morning at xTreme Tacos in Seminole Heights.

Corn tortillas are made from scratch by sisters Marcela and Paulina Rojas.

They don't use scales, able to measure the perfect amount of dough with their hands after decades of experience. 

In Spanish, they explained they've been making tortillas since they were little girls, learning from their mom and grandmother.

That scratch-made approach carries over to their salsas, tamales and proteins like slow-simmered carnitas and perfectly spiced al pastor. 

Mexico's regions all have different styles of cooking. 

xTreme Tacos using recipes from Morelos, a state about two hours from Mexico City.

"We're from Cuautla, Morelos so having my mom in the kitchen and some of the stuff she makes, homemade tortillas, salsas, tamales, gives a Cuautla flavor to the food mixed with what everyone likes," explained Uzi Ramirez, co-owner of xTreme Tacos. 

He says the restaurant has embraced requests from customers, blending ingredients not usually found on traditional Mexican tacos. 

Usually, tacos in Mexico are just topped with cilantro, onion, lime and salsa. 

The restaurant offers sour cream, guacamole and cheese on their 'xTreme' tacos.

The restaurant has also embraced local staples, like fresh grouper, offering it both grilled and fried in a crispy batter for their tacos and burritos. 

The combination of customer requests and traditional recipes has gained the restaurant a growing following. 

"We were in a food truck for a year while we were building out this location and we really needed a big commercial kitchen to serve the amount of people we do," said co-owner Sofie Warrenbrand. "We're so humbled by the fact that we've had some of the same faces here since we started in a food truck now coming here and spreading the word to their friends," she added.

The restaurant offers some outdoor seating along with a bar area and dine-in section at 5609 N. Nebraska Avenue in Tampa.