Eats Beat

Here’s the big-name local chef opening Austin City Taco off West 7th

The new Austin City Taco Co. is starting out with a big-name local chef.

Former Reata chef Juan Rodriguez, the toast of the pop-up dinner circuit for his monthly specials at Magdalena’s, is doing a menu of 18-hour oak-smoked brisket tacos for the new taqueria, 517 University Drive.

“Texas is known for brisket, so we’re just bringing really good brisket and tacos together,” said Rodriguez, planning the menu for Austin City owner Cameron Powell.

The taqueria will be a small, fast-casual restaurant with a small patio on the block next to a year-old Starbucks Coffee. It’s booked to open next spring.

“We’ll just have good tortillas, good tacos, margaritas and sangria,” Rodriguez said.

“We’re not going to make it too complicated.”

According to a spokeswoman, Austin City Taco also will feature buttermilk-brined chicken tacos, Gulf shrimp and homemade salsas.

Two blocks north of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Austin City Taco joins a market that already includes Taco Heads on nearby Montgomery Street and Velvet Taco on West Seventh Street, with an OMG Tacos set to open within days at 3011 Bledsoe St.

Rodriguez is the longest-serving of several chefs in Reata’s history, but left in 2014 to launch a Mansfield steakhouse that never panned out.

He launched Magdalena’s in 2015, offering $55 pop-up supper-club dinners several times a month in a catering hall on north Fort Worth’s Grand Avenue.

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For example, a three-course October menu features a flounder milanesa, squash flautas and a homemade version of Gansitos, a strawberry-chocolate cake.

This spring, he was part of a TV pilot called “A Night of Artists and Chefs.”

Rodriguez said the Magdalena’s dinners will continue: “We’re having too much fun,” he said.

For more information about Austin City Taco, see

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