The name is Austin City Taco Co., but the heritage is all Fort Worth.
A Fort Worth owner teamed with former Reata chef Juan Rodriguez of Magdalena’s to design the flashy new Texas-themed taqueria, 517 University Drive.
Think of a taqueria with oak-smoked brisket or achiote rotisserie chicken and housemade blue corn or flour tortillas.
The “Austin” is all attitude, no fact. (Austin City Taco isn’t alone: The Schlotzsky’s sandwich chain just went back to its roots as “Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery,” and Irving-based Hoffbrau has never hidden its Austin and Longhorn origins.)
Breakfast tacos — not an Austin original but popularized there — start at 7 a.m. with $3-$4 migas tacos, or there’s also a “midnight craving” taco with eggs, brisket and bacon jam.
The main menu features a sliced brisket taco on a flour tortilla that might as well be a sandwich ($5.95). Most of the tacos feature chopped brisket or rotisserie chicken, but there’s also shrimp tacos and pork tacos al pastor with pineapple and jalapeno sauce.
For dessert, there’s soft-serve gelato with honey-oat cereal.
Rodriguez still runs his Magdalena’s pop-up dinners, but helped design the Austin City recipes and menu.
“It’s sort of Central Texas-barbecue-meets-the-taqueria,” Rodriguez said on a recent episode of the Eats Beat podcast.
He’s proud of the sauces, particularly the guajillo. There’s a habanero and a creamy jalapeno, and spicy queso for the fries.
Last year, he talked wirh owners “and we hit it off,” Rodriguez said. The primary owner is Cameron Powell, a University of Texas graduate.
They picked out a busy University Drive corner at West Fifth Street across from J&J’s Oyster Bar near Deep Ellum Brewing.
(To answer the familiar west side question “What used to be there?” — the site was recently home to The Grotto, and years ago was a Good Luck Drive-In like the one on West Rosedale Street.)
The building boom isn’t done on University. A bar-and-grill named the Cookshack is expected across the street, owned by a Dallas restaurateur who used to own some Cheddar’s locations.