Whats Eric Eating
What's Eric Eating Episode 82

Talented Houston chef approaches 1 million tacos sold, plus a fresh fish story

Houston chef approaches 1 million tacos sold, plus a fresh fish story

La Calle tacos and tortas
La Calle serves authentic, Mexico City-style tacos and tortas. La Calle/Facebook
La Calle Tacos exterior
La Calle has become a popular dining destination in downtown. La Calle/Facebook
Flying Fish shrimp and catfish basket
The hosts discuss their meal at newly-opened seafood restaurant Flying Fish. Courtesy photo
Cane Rosso Montrose
Cane Rosso's Montrose location has closed, but the Heights outpost lives on. Courtesy of Cane Rosso
Vara's sports bar exterior
Vara's Sports Bar has new owners.  Photo by Eric Sandler
La Calle tacos and tortas
La Calle Tacos exterior
Flying Fish shrimp and catfish basket
Cane Rosso Montrose
Vara's sports bar exterior

On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Ramon Soriano Tomka joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss La Calle Tacos & Tortas. Tomka begins the conversation by explaining how a career working for corporate restaurants led him from Mexico City to the United States and, eventually, to Houston where he opened his downtown restaurant in 2016

Tomka opened La Calle (Spanish for "the street") to serve the authentic street-style tacos and tortas he grew up eating. Two years in, the restaurant has been a hit. Sometime soon, Tomka says he will sell his 1,000,000th taco. Between now and then, he's holding a contest for people to guess the exact number sold; the winner will receive 1,000 tacos. 

He credits a significant portion of La Calle's success to social media, especially Facebook, where over 17,000 people have liked the restaurant's page. Sandler asks Tomka about his strategy for social media.

"What does work is just to be extremely participant. Every single day I post about something. What works the best is when you post something and you see it's getting traction . . . boost it. That's what has worked the most," Tomka says. "What doesn't work is just posting about your business and trying to sell. Post about other things. I frequently post memes that have nothing to do with it. I post about food from other places, even my competition. I think people appreciate that." 

Prior to Tomka's interview, Avondale Food & Wine owner Mary Clarkson joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include the closings of Cane Rosso's Montrose location and the Canino Produce Company, Steve and Shaun Sharma's purchase of Vara's Sports Bar, and the unusual way celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern eats crawfish. In the restaurants of the week segment, the hosts discuss their meal at Flying Fish, a new seafood restaurant in the Heights, and Sandler shares some first impressions of Blood Bros. BBQ

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