Open since 2016, La Calle serves tacos inspired by Tomka's favorite taquerias from his childhood growing up in Mexico City. The combination of a straightforward menu of classic fillings, such as carnitas, pastor, and barbacoa, late-night hours (open until 3 am Thursday-Saturday), and reasonable prices has made the restaurant a hit. Tomka recently celebrated his 1 millionth taco sold.
"The Midtown District received more than 300 applications for the space," Tomka says. "They asked 20 concepts for a business plan and called eight to present to the board and [then] chose us."
Tomka's plans for the project include renovating the space to add a beer garden and cantina on the structure's roof. Pending city approval, the new La Calle should celebrate its grand opening in March. Adding La Calle is part of a larger series of renovations going on at Bagby Park that include a bigger stage with better lighting and improved drainage.
To prepare for the growth, Tomka has added partner Fernando Villegas to his team. An industry veteran who has served in high-level positions at restaurants such as Burger King, Wendy's, and Recorcholis (Tomka compares it to Dave & Busters), Villegas brings lots of experience operating multiple units. The two men share a work history.
"I met Fernando more than 20 years ago," Tomka notes. "He was my boss at Burger King back then. Fernando just moved to Houston with his family to come help me grow the brand!"