There may be a few restaurant openings this year that already stir up serious anticipation — Uchi, Underbelly and Brasserie 19, to name three — but no opening has led to greater curiosity than that of Greatfull Taco.
The latest concept in the South Shepherd space that previously held Sabetta, Crostini and Cafe Zol, Greatfull Taco is a fast-casual taco shop, with a menu of tacos that blend Tex-Mex, Cali-Mex and international flavors.
There's the Red Rooster Jerk, jerk chicken with mango-habanero salsa; the Emo-topia, a fried eggplant and artichoke with garlic-serrano mayo; a "Bucky's Mystery Meat" taco (it's not beaver, it's bison); and tacos with chicken molé, beer-battered shrimp and pulled pork, all on corn tortillas, as well as a breakfast taco menu with all the classics.
According to Katharine Shilcutt, the main menu is inspired by Torchy's Tacos in Austin, but when figuring out what to make of Greatfull Taco, that's just the beginning. It's a restaurant full of seemingly contradictory ideas, a combination of inspirations of owner Paul West, who is equal parts buttoned-up businessman and mad restaurant scientist. (He's also a former chief financial officer at Landry's and a former partner who's currently involved in a legal dispute at Sherlock's Pub.)
In addition to the main restaurant, West is also maintaining the private room featured while the space was Sabetta, calling it "The Owner's Room" and offering it as a tiny private restaurant, available by reservation only, that features its own menus to choose from (don't expect tacos), its own chef (former Sabetta chef/owner Riccardo Palazzo-Giorgio) and even its own entrance so that the occupants can completely avoid the taco-eating hoi polloi on the other side of the wall.
When it opens on April 17, Greatfull Taco will also boast a premium sound system on the patio (West often seems as excited about the restaurant's music as the menu), a Skype phone in the bathroom vestibule and an eVgo electric car charging station, perhaps the first in the city.
The restaurant is kicking off with a live concert on Sunday which will feature singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile and Seattle alt-pop band Fences. Admission is $10 (tickets must be purchased in advance here) and will benefit environmental charities chosen by the performers to celebrate Earth Day.
The opening concert is the beginning of a partnership with Warehouse Live called Greatfull Taco Live!, which aims to sponsor live concerts in an open-air setting. It will also mark the debut of West's alter-ego Herbert Hilbert, a "music-based avatar (created) to express a portion of him that needed to speak out to the public." Oooook.
Let's just say that if the previous restaurants in this space failed because they didn't attract enough attention, Greatfull Taco doesn't have anything to worry about.