Hacienda Tacos, the popular TexMex meets New Mexican taqueria in Northpark Mall, is adding a Midtown location in early December. Located in the space formerly occupied by Irma’s in Midtown Plaza, the new Hacienda will continue the original’s popular menu, and add local beers, craft cocktails and a large Mezcal selection.
Managing partner Robby Vernon said he’d like the Midtown taqueria to help introduce locals to Mezcal via flights and cocktails. “We’re adding a Mezcal wall to the south end of the bar,” Vernon said, “and we’ll expand our selection to somewhere in the 20-30 plus range. We think Midtown is the perfect place for this kind of emphasis because there’s already a craft culture in the area.”
Anthem Brewing Company has produced a custom beer for the restaurant as well. Called Hacienda Hooch, the citrusy lager is still in the works, but the first batch should be ready for the opening in the first week of December.
“We’re shooting for the first week,” Vernon said. “When you have everything custom built to your own specifications—including barstools, cocktail tables and chairs—there are often unexpected delays.”
The new location will be more than a third larger than the original store, but the place will look very similar. “We worked with Larry Dean Pickering on the interior build-out to get what we believe is the Hacienda look going forward,” Vernon said. “The stencil art on the walls will be different, but all future stores will stick to this design; we want people to know they’ve walked into a Hacienda Tacos.”
The food at Hacienda was a near-immediate hit on the north side; featuring smoked meats, four house-made taco sauces and three made-fresh salsas, it is built around Vernon’s love for New Mexico and New Mexican cuisine. “We’re not messing with the food menu,” Vernon, a 27-year foodservice veteran, said. “I never understood the tendency in so many restaurateurs to move onto the next thing so quickly. Perfect what’s work and direct your energy to the things people love.”
At the same time, the added space in Midtown will allow the kitchen to focus on menu development for the future, so expect specials and features occasionally. The move downtown also gives Vernon and his partners a chance to focus on helping the downtown neighborhoods, including a particular pet peeve of his—helping Pickering with the ongoing litter collection in Midtown and surrounding areas.
“The abundance of bars and restaurants in Midtown has led to a big litter problem, especially on weekends,” Vernon said. “If Larry didn’t go around every weekend, it probably wouldn’t get done, so we’re going to partner with him to embrace our neighborhood by helping keep it clean.”
Initially, Hacienda will be closed on Sunday, but Vernon said they’ll evaluate that after a few months. Parking is another issue, and Vernon’s response was one that has become too common in downtown: “I told my investors that we’ll be no different than anyone else down here; everyone needs more parking.”