Now, I know nothing about the finer points of Dallas’ tacos — writer José Ralat does, and you can read his thoughts in the September issue of D Magazine (on newsstands now!). But you don’t have to be a taco authority to get the mood of a taco place.
For example, at El Come, the vibe feels authentic. You instinctively get that it’s family-owned. The dreamy, private Purépecha Room in the back of Revolver Taco Lounge, with its antique gramophone, white roses, and gilt-edged plates, was designed to evoke nostalgia for tradition. At Taco Heads, Henderson Avenue’s newest taco spot, the mood is decidedly Instagrammable. But not the bad kind of Instagrammable — the type of design that feels almost entirely engineered for social media with little thought given to a more authoritative vision. The beloved Fort Worth transplant, which opened its doors in July, was thoughtfully planned and constructed. It just so happens to be really pretty.
There are a couple of neon signs (“Another Day Another Taco” and the more informative “Breakfast Tacos All Day Every Day”) that you’ll be tempted to take a picture of, but they don’t detract from the overall aesthetic, which feels cohesive and purposeful. Founder and owner Sarah Castillo and her partner, chef Christian Lehrmann, enlisted Fort Worth’s Studio 97w to reimagine the space formerly occupied by Lekka. “We wanted to bring it back to something more minimal and brighten it up,” says Castillo. “We covered Lekka’s faux brick with this great grey stucco and added a fireplace. The whole space just has a cool, clean, Marfa-inspired look.”
There’s a modern, geometric wood statement wall, jute rugs, simple, Mid-century-inspired furniture, exposed shelving, acapulco chairs, and a Topo Chico-turned-vase on every table. A soft, green, white, and pink color scheme brightens things up throughout the space. The bar, the welcoming centerpiece of Taco Heads, keeps it simple with some light grey stucco and minty green bar stools.
“Our menu is 14 tacos, four appetizers, three sweet treats, and a few tacos. We’re a simple idea but we execute it very well. We use that same idea for the style and vibe of the space,” says Lehrmann. “Even though we’re not in the Tim Headington, Tristan Simon world, you can still execute a concept at a really high level on a budget. You just have to be more creative, which is what we like: getting creative.”
On the food front, I hear good things (Ralat chose Taco Heads’ garlic shrimp in his roundup of the 37 best tacos in town), but again, I’m not an authority.
As for why Taco Heads’ second location landed on Henderson, Castillo added this excellent observation, “This street just fit us. It’s funky. There’s kind of an Austin vibe here. The other day, I saw a guy in a Speedo on a scooter, and I was like, okay, I love it here.”