Photos: A first look at T|ACO, opening Wednesday in Boulder

TACO1.jpg
Lori Midson
When you eat at T|ACO, which opens in Boulder on Wednesday, you'll be sharing space with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Annie Oakley, Raquel Welch and Robert Duvall -- or at least their likenesses.

The new urban taqueria, a 62-seat homage to tacos and spaghetti Westerns, spotlights a wall collage of actors and actresses, all of whom appeared in said Westerns, a theme, says Whitney Olmstead, the chief operating officer of T|ACO (as well as H Burger Co, a mini burger empire that has stores in both Denver and Boulder), that personifies the taqueria's playful take on Mexican street foods. "Our niche is that we're a little bit formal, a little bit kitsch," she says, adding that spaghetti Westerns will also be shown on the one television that hangs between the bar and open kitchen, which is overseen by chef Matt Collier, who spent four years as the sous chef at the Kitchen.

It's a hip space, bedecked with tin star lanterns suspended from the ceiling, cherry-red sombreros, chocolate-hued concrete floors, textured wallpaper the color of a Mexican sunset, a beetle-kill-pine community table that squats squarely between a partially open kitchen and the beautiful live-edge beetle-kill-pine bar that's flanked with stone.

And Collier's menu, which I sampled yesterday afternoon, is steeped in tacos, all of which are made with housemade corn tortillas slapped on the flat-top. "We have a phenomenal woman who comes in every day, three times a day, to make the corn tortillas," says Collier, noting that guests will be able to see all the action from the bar, which also overlooks the kitchen.

"And we're not doing rice and beans to fill people up," warns Olmstead. ""This is a young and vibrant community of foodies who want a great product at a great price, and there's a need for a good taqueria here that spends a little extra money to put out really good food. We're just doing great tacos with great tortillas and great ingredients."

And, of course, margaritas, along with Mexican beers. "Mexican beer is our specialty, and we also have a long list of tequila shooters, high-end flights and twelve specialty cocktails, which, if I have my way, will all be named after spaghetti Westerns," says Olmstead.

When T|ACO opens on Wednesday, it'll serve lunch and dinner, followed by brunch in a few weeks. And construction for a second T|ACO, which will take up in residence in the former 8 Rivers space in LoDo, will begin in early June; look for a late-July opening.

In the meantime, here's an exclusive first look of the space and foodstuffs at the Boulder T|ACO.

Location Info

T|ACO

1175 Walnut St., Boulder, CO

Category: Restaurant

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33 comments
jaded
jaded

Pinche sminche... this place opened on Colfax titled Mezcal in 2005.... 

ak
ak

Seeing this makes me love Pinche more.

Nogmosdamnit15
Nogmosdamnit15

I love how this Chef has been making Diana Kennedy influenced food in Chicago before Pinche even opened & still people feel the need to compare?  I feel sorry for the people on here that have a problem with a name, they cannot figure out how to pronounce. It just makes you sound shallow to hold that as a reason not to eat there. Oh and if you want to consider your self a proclaimed "foodie" why not go and try the food out first, you might just have some credibility to what you write. Being mexican, I am thrilled to have such an fresh new local restaurant to eat at that serves up authentic food.

Denver Foodie
Denver Foodie

Hmmmm, how creative and original, no beans, no rice, specializing in street tacos, tequila and specialty cocktails....can you say RIP-OFF of Pinche Tacos. 

Of course, immitation is the best form of flattery, but come on, can't you guys create your own concept instead of piggy-backing off the original.  Lame.

Tacos a la plancha?  Ah, you mean, Queso a la plancha....thieves!

And one more thing.....rumor has it H Burger approached Pinche Tacos to go into partnership after Troy Guard pulled out.  Pinche turned them down so H Burger stole their concept and part of their menu; great business practice gentlemen.

"Our niche is that we're a little bit formal, a little bit kitsch,".....Your niche is Pinche lame.

Scott B
Scott B

 Finally I can get some tacos without having to interact with Mexicans. Also, does a taco stand really need an "executive chef"? The guy who works the hot dog cart down on 16th will be pleased to hear about his new promotion.

Denverite
Denverite

p|lease don't open one in d|enver

A Gross Salad
A Gross Salad

At first I thought I was being my usual cynical self, getting really upset with how awful and pretentious the name is. But then I read the comments of you, fellow Westword reader, and I was immediately reminded that I am truly part of a Global VIllage. 

GFTW
GFTW

Why is the E|xec C|hef wearing an U|dis shirt and not a T|aco shirt? Is that the T|aco B|ell dog behind him?

Cboland
Cboland

I'd like to fight Troy Guard

monopod
monopod

I'm looking forward to checking this place out, but concerned that it's going to be $3 or more per taco, for little three-bite tacos.  A buck per bite is a bit much, especially if you're talking cheap ingredients like chicken thighs, flank steak, tomatillos, etc.  ($3 for a lobster taco, fine, if it's got real chunks of actual lobster meat.)  I hope they try to keep this place affordable enough, otherwise they'll lose the downtown business lunch crowd and probably not last too long.

Collier H
Collier H

I'm going there next time I'm in the state. I'm so sick of TexMex style food. I really just want some authentic Mexican food!

Dishpr
Dishpr

the restaurant is pronounced "tee-ako." they will work hard to include the phonetic spelling for the time being...a least until the brand awareness kicks in. boulder's bacaro had the same issue. as did denver's ambria. and what about alinea in chicago?!? it just takes awareness. 

Mantonat
Mantonat

How is T|ACO pronounced? Tee Aco? T'aco? Just Taco? The photos look great, but I'm already annoyed with the name. I have a hard enough time pronouncing real Spanish words without having to learn made-up Marketingese.

Dishpr
Dishpr

this is pretty much the best "first look" i have ever seen you do. 

Theonegordo
Theonegordo

Unless your a midget you would probably have to fight him on your knees

isix
isix

 Authentic by a gringo?

Jon S
Jon S

Does this mean I've been mispronouncing TAG as "tag" when really it's "tee-ag", or teabag without the "b"?

monopod
monopod

Problem is, Google doesn't seem to recognize the mark, so if you search you just get a bunch of taco restaurants.  Seems like Googleability is a pretty important factor in naming these days.

eyeroll
eyeroll

None of the restaurants you mention include diacritical marks. Not really the same thing.

Mantonat
Mantonat

Well, if it's one thing that Boulder has in spades, it's awareness. Or should I say A|wareness?

Denveronaspit
Denveronaspit

I agree. Quite possibly the most annoying name I have ever seen. Maybe it's trying for Boulder's Nahuatl-speaking crowd and it is "Tlaco".

Jon S
Jon S

 I would have named it iT|ACO .

Chris
Chris

I hate the name so much. T-poley-ACO? T-pipe-ACO? T-don't print this because it is a visual accent-ACO? Usually stuff like this doesn't bug me but seeing it written out makes it so repellent.

Dishpr
Dishpr

eyeroll: my point was more about pronunciation. 

GFTW
GFTW

You mean B|oulder.

Choco Taco
Choco Taco

 The T once stood for Troy.  It's pronounced Troy-Aco.

Chris
Chris

I still think they should change it to |TACO|

Mantonat
Mantonat

Yeah, at first glance I thought it was tlaco, like maybe tlacoyo. But no.

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