Restaurants

Where a north Fort Worth burger place fell a few months ago, a taco joint has arisen

Courtesy of Tacos Chilangos

In October, Dallas-based Liberty Burger closed four North Texas locations, including its only one in Fort Worth.

Less than three months later, that former Liberty Burger — in the large Presidio Junction center in far north Fort Worth — has come back, but as a taco joint.

While the new Grub Burger Bar on the other side of I-35W opened with some fanfare this month, Tacos Chilangos opened quietly a few days earlier in the old Liberty spot.

“Chilango” is slang for someone from Mexico City, although various websites define it as a person who’s a Mexico City native or a person who moved to Mexico City. Although many sources say it’s derogatory, “Chilango” is used commonly in taco-joint names through the U.S., as we found out when we first Googled the Fort Worth place. But the Fort Worth place is an independent spot, run by the same guys who operated the Liberty location, and not related to any other taco place with Chilango in its name.

Tacos Chilangos is a build-your-own place: choose a meal (tacos, burrito, bowl, salad bowl, loaded quesadilla or loaded nachos), pick a protein (there are beef, chicken and pork options, as well as two veggie options — mushrooms or nopalitos), add toppings and sides (each meal comes with two sides). Meals are $8; if you choose one of the premium toppings, there’s an upcharge ($1 for queso fresco, $2 for guacamole).

Chips and salsa are two bucks. Elote is $5. Nachos of the unloaded variety are also $5. Desserts — a choice of a churro or a sopapilla — are $3.

It takes a bit of chutzpah to open a taco place when there is a Chipotle nearby, as well as a location of the local and not dissimilar Frezko Taco Spot, as well as any number of fast-food taco chains (although a Taco Cabana in Presidio Junction was among the ones the troubled chain recently closed).

But then Liberty Burger was a short walk away from a Red Robin Gourmet Burger, in a shopping center that already has a Whataburger, a Wendy’s, an In-N-Out and a Jack in the Box, and we might be forgetting something. When there are as many restaurants as there are in the Presidio Junction/Alliance Town Center area between the North Tarrant Parkway and Heritage Trace Parkway exits off I-35W, there’s bound to be some overlap.

When the Fort Worth Liberty Burger closed, the chain issued a news release in which Mariel Street, the co-owner of Liberty Burger, announced that the company was severing its relationship with one franchisee. Locations in Carrollton, Las Colinas and the Star in Frisco were also affected.

Tacos Chilangos is at 8917 North Freeway Service Road E. in Fort Worth, 817-847-7771, @tachilangos on Facebook.

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Robert Philpot has been a features reporter for the Star-Telegram since October 1992, and currently covers the Tarrant County (and sometimes more) restaurant scene. He also writes general-entertainment stories and features about DFW TV and radio personalities.
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