Photo by Lexi Coon.
Along with business partner Craig Perry, Mountain Brook native Sam Haskell took over Local Taco and opened the family-friendly taco-centric restaurant in the Lane Parke development in early November.
Local Taco, a locally owned restaurant that opened in Lane Parke in early November, brings a lot of things to its tables. But its anchor is something other restaurants in the area don’t have: a menu dedicated to tacos.
“The truth is, if you go to other cities, there will be six or seven taco-specific restaurants,” said Sam Haskell, Mountain Brook native and Local Taco partner. “But … in Birmingham, there are very few.”
Haskell and his business partner, Craig Perry, both of whom work for the Halo Restaurant Group, took over the taco restaurant about a year ago from John Ko, who had opened the original location in Nashville.
“[John] wanted to be like a neighborhood place, which it was,” Haskell said. “A place that had a patio, where people could have a margarita in the spring and fall and relax.”
At the time they took over Local Taco, Ko already had signed the lease with Lane Parke when the development was still in the design phases. But, Haskell said, it was a great fit for the taco-centered restaurant, especially with the Grand Bohemian Hotel, the apartments and Western Market all within walking distance.
The location in the Lane Parke shopping center was the second Local Taco that Haskell and Perry opened during their first year, and they worked to continue Ko’s values by using fresh, local ingredients and making their own tortillas.
“We try to get as much as possible from scratch,” Haskell said, describing their menu as “Southern taco.” “We don’t use any canned food.”
Much of the menu, which focuses on fresh, creative cuisine, was created with the help of Dave Story, who has worked on food research and development for a number of other concepts.
“The Nashville Hot Chicken taco is easily the most popular,” Haskell said. Runners-up include the Mexi-Tater Tots, which are hush puppies covered in a creamy sauce, the Spicy Baja Shrimp tacos and the Al Pastor tacos. The menus at all the locations are not exact replicas of one another, but Haskell said they do plan to take the favorites from each location to compile a new menu in 2017.
They didn’t forget about the kids, either, and have a children’s menu that features mac and cheese made in-house. Haskell said that together with the patios and the relaxed atmosphere, the restaurant will be welcoming to families and the community.
“We have oversized tables at each end of the restaurant for family corners, too” he added.
Not to be outdone by the food, the drinks are a large focus of the restaurant as well.
“[Local Taco] has to be relaxed around the margarita, and that’s why we have a special drink menu,” he said. Those community favorites have been the Skinny Mocking J, a low-calorie margarita, and the Strawberry Pickin’, a botanical gin drink.
“We see there’s nothing like Local Taco in Birmingham,” Haskell said. “And, we’re locally owned.”
Local Taco is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Find more information, go to localtaco.com.