Taco Heads BnM (brick and mortar)
1812 Montgomery St.
Two itsy bitsy shacks, which have now been connected by a central deck, once housed Water Wizard Pools and more recently the short-lived Trevino’s Mexican Food. But after being cooped up inside a food truck for the past seven years, Taco Heads finds the spot on Montgomery Street a perfect place to finally spread its wings.
Chef and owner Sarah Castillo set out to bring quality, responsibly-sourced tacos to her hometown when she launched Taco Heads food truck in 2009. Before long, her taco truck empire had mushroomed to multiple trucks.
Last year, along with business partner Jacob Watson, she announced plans for the first brick and mortar location in South Main Village, but when the tiny space on Montgomery became available, Castillo jumped at the opportunity. They are calling it Taco Heads BnM (bricks and mortar). The South Main plan is still in the works and it should open late this year, according to Castillo.
The menu is limited, and so is the seating inside the main dining room. To say Taco Heads has a micro-footprint is an understatement. It has certainly squeezed every ounce of usable space out of the building. Wooden window bar seating, a couple of high tops and even a banquette fill the interior. The space is bright, freshly painted and modern. At present, the cash register stand doubles as a bar during busy hours, with margaritas being shaken in very close proximity.
But when the weather is nice, the patio is a magnet with simple wooden picnic benches and bright plastic Adirondacks. The next building over is being converted into additional space and will become a more proper bar area, Castillo hopes by early May. Loyal customers can’t wait, but weekend crowds are willing to wait − in line that is – to get a taste of the new Taco Heads.
The grilled corn elotes ($3.75) alone are worth the wait. Sweet corn is smothered in both chili aioli and garlic butter, then sprinkled liberally with salty Cotija cheese. Some recipes call for a drizzle of sauce over grilled corn; this is not that recipe. Not a dainty dish, it’s a hot mess, but we just love it!
Another simple yet outstanding appetizer is the guacamole with sweetcorn chips ($7). Unembellished by too much salt, acid or spice, these avocados taste like they were freshly mashed when we ordered the dish. A lemon wedge accompanies the basket of crusty fresh corn tortilla chips, if the urge strikes.
Likewise little lime wedges are served alongside all the tacos, and two different salsas are available – one red, the other green – that you will find yourself pouring on everything. The red pepper sauce packs some heat, but a nice heat. The avocado, jalapeno and tomatillo is tangy and creamy at the same time.
Taco Heads is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the menu varies little depending on the time of day. You can mix and match your favorites or try something new. Breakfast and brunch tacos have diced skillet potatoes and fluffy scrambled eggs, some with chorizo sausage, others with bacon and one with gilled veggies ($3.25-$3.50 each). The seasonal veggie was full of squash, yellow bell peppers, onion, raw spinach and cheddar cheese on a recent trip.
You can choose flour or corn tortillas. All tacos are stuffed to the brim with fillings, so two is plenty for the average meal. The corn tortillas are not two-ply like you find at most places; these are sturdy enough to hold together start to finish.
For lunch and dinner, the carnitas ($3.50) are tender and juicy, but not at all greasy, with shredded cabbage, onion, cilantro and queso fresco. Likewise the roasted chipotle brisket ($3.75) is clean and mild. The Nuevo Leon al pastor ($4) is a spicy version with a squirt of red sauce, salty queso fresco, and sweet grilled pineapple chunks.
I am looking forward to the new bar addition when a tantalizing, full cocktail menu will debut. I already have my eye on the Aviation ($10), which will blend gin, maraschino liqueur, violet liqueur, lemon, syrup and cherry.