all the tacos!

New street-style taco stand unfolds first location in The Heights

New street-style taco stand unfolds first location in The Heights

Taco Stand spread
The Taco Stand opens Wednesday at 6 am. Photo by Becca Wright
Taco Stand quesadilla
Cheese pull with a quesadilla. Photo by Becca Wright
Taco Stand order window
Trompo! Photo by Becca Wright
Taco Stand trompo
Order up. Photo by Becca Wright
Taco Stand spread
Yes, that's housemade Jamaica aqua fresca. Photo by Becca Wright
Taco Stand spread
Taco Stand quesadilla
Taco Stand order window
Taco Stand trompo
Taco Stand spread

Shawn Bermudez and chef Matthew Pak are ready to unveil their latest project. The Taco Stand, a sister concept to The Burger Joint, opens in The Heights at 6 am on Wednesday, January 27.

Located next to The Burger Joint’s Heights outpost at 2018 N. Shepherd Dr., The Taco Stand serves traditional, street-style tacos paired with housemade corn or flour tortillas and five housemade salsas. Like its sibling, the restaurant offers fast casual ordering and an expansive patio, plus the added convenience of a drive-thru for speedy to-go ordering.

“Over there, the main concept was going back to classic burgers,” Bermudez tells CultureMap. “Over here, we’re going back to classic street tacos — nothing crazy, just solid, traditional tacos.”

Pak’s menu includes traditional meats such as pastor, carnitas, carne asada, barbacoa, and chicharron (note the absence of chicken tenders or falafel). In addition, diners may opt for grilled fish or shrimp as well as vegetarian options including mushroom, nopales, and poblano with cheese. Pork lovers should consider the Campechano de Puerco, which combines carnitas, chorizo, and chicharron in one tidy package. 

Tacos get topped with the traditional chopped onion and cilantro and are served with lime wedges. Five housemade salsas spice things up. They range from a mild red table salsa and roasted tomatillo to a smokey chile de arbol and fiery jalapeno and habanero-based options.

“There’s no fancy toppings,” Pak says. “It’s all about the meat, the tortilla, and the salsa.”

The Taco Stand makes its own corn and flour tortillas. Machines cut the tortillas to order, and then they’re heated up on a griddle.

“We’re not mass producing corn tortillas,” Pak says “We have someone manning the flour and corn tortilla machines all day long. They’re as fresh as you can possibly get.”

In addition to tacos, the meats are available as burritos — a nod to Bermudez’s California upbringing — quesadillas and bowls. Breakfast tacos (chorizo and egg, bacon and egg, potato and egg, etc) are served every morning from 6 - 11 am, at least for now. Pak wants to get the kitchen dialed in before extending the hours, but the chef acknowledges the demand is there.

“We’ll start 6-11, and we’ll push it as far as we can go,” Pak says. ‘I like breakfast all day. I know Shawn does, too. A lot of people do.”

Beverage options start with housemade agua frescas in horchata, jamaica, and limonada, plus a selection of Jarritos sodas, Mexican Coke and Sprite, and other sips. Fountain sodas are also available.

Bermudez tasked Present Company beverage director Rex Nielsen with developing The Taco Stand’s frozen margaritas and canned cocktails, all of which use 100-percent blue agave tequila. Frozens come in a generous 16-ounce serving while cans are available in both 8 and 12-ounces. Thanks to changes in TABC regulations, the restaurant can serve cocktails for both dine-in and to-go.

“Typically you go to a Mexican restaurant you get 8 or 9-ounces,” Bermudez notes. “We’re starting at $9 for a 16-ounce.”

The partners are already working on a third Burger Joint in the Baybrook area. Could more Taco Stands follow?

“We’d like to try to pop these up next to each other in the future,” Bermudez acknowledges.

“If we can find something near our original location, for personal reasons I’d love to have one in Montrose. This is something I eat pretty much on a daily basis.”