Among a slew of specialty taco restaurants, Taco Heads sets a new standard.
Once upon a time, west Fort Worth was a wasteland for late-night food options. When the bars closed or the munchies struck, the hungry would drift aimlessly in search of sustenance, and would settle for fast food, whatever was available at 7-11, or the dregs of their own fridges. Then, one bright and glorious day, hope arrived in the form of a small trailer, parked behind Poag Mahone’s off West Seventh.
Like a beacon in darkest night, Taco Heads lured the famished with a selection of simple, exquisitely prepared tacos made with fresh, all-natural ingredients. With the birth of Taco Heads, no longer would the late-night hours remain the sole domain of greasy burgers; and now, the visionary behind Taco Heads, Sarah Castillo, has set out to conquer the daytime as well.
Now open at 1812 Montgomery Street, Taco Heads’s new standalone restaurant has all the deliciousness of the late-night trailer transported into an attractive space for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
“I wanted to grow, and when I started as a food truck that was always the goal,” says Sarah. “With the restaurant, we’ve kept it simple: all we added were four starters and four signature tacos, in addition to our traditional food truck tacos. We also have our signature cocktails and plan to open a full bar in early summer.”
The original Taco Heads food truck — which remains open for business — appeared seven years ago. The genesis of the idea came to Sarah when, as a waiter, she would work late and have nothing to eat.
“Back then there was Old South and Whataburger, and that was pretty much it,” says Sarah. “We would get off work and be starving. I would sometimes go to taco stands on the southside, and decided to bring that to us.”
At its original location, Taco Heads’s hours are 6pm to 2am, firmly situated to make the most of the after-work and bar crowd.
“It’s a rough lifestyle,” says Sarah of the effort to maintain the food truck hours. “After cleaning and winding down, I wouldn’t get home until 4am. Then I’d wake up and start prepping for the next day. From day one I knew I wanted to be a restaurant, but it never worked out until I met my business partner.”
Sarah’s partner, Jacob Watson, helped her find the ideal location and get funding. If you’ve ever wondered whether God loves tacos, the story of how Jacob and Sarah met makes clear that fate intervened to bring the new Taco Heads into reality.
“Jacob had a non-profit that used Uber to raise money,” says Sarah. “One Friday, he himself was Ubering and I was the first person he picked up. I told him what I did, and he gave me a book from his professor at Duke. He said that if I wanted to grow and needed an investor, to give him a call. The rest is history.”
History continues to unfold in new and delicious ways at Taco Heads. Part of the the food truck’s original appeal came from the simplicity of its menu. Patrons could order chicken, pork, beef, or veggie tacos, with a few toppings and the option to add avocado. While many specialty taco places have gone over the top with crazy offerings, Sarah knew that simple quality will trump bedazzlement every time.
“Legit tacos are legit tacos,” says Sarah. “You don’t need to stuff chicken and waffles into a tortilla.”
Taco Heads’s fresh offerings come thanks to the high-level food purveyors that Sarah works with. For the seafood used in Taco Heads’s new signature tacos, the restaurant sources from the same place used at upscale restaurants such as Waters and Piranha.
“We have no MSG, nothing pre-made,” says Sarah. “We really take pride in our quality, and that’s one thing that sets us apart. We do that in the food truck as well. We don’t even own a freezer, actually.”
If you don’t often find yourself wandering around West Seventh in the late-night hours, Taco Heads’s new restaurant provides the perfect opportunity to learn what “legit” tacos are all about. In addition to the traditional and signature tacos, Taco Heads offers delectable breakfast tacos to conquer the earliest of cravings. Whether it’s chorizo mexicano and egg, wild tilapia with garlic paprika and aioli, or an old-fashioned carnitas taco, Taco Heads is always muy deliciosa.