BY KRISTINA ROSEN
There’s nothing like eating high-end tacos in a renovated 1940s auto body garage. Well, there was nothing like it until Painted Taco opened, the newest fast-casual taco eatery to come to Rosemont Garden in early July.
Hidden along the railroad tracks, Painted Taco is hard to miss with its large garage bay doors and colorful, street-art style Mexican sugar skulls painted across the small, abandoned building.
“At Painted Taco, you can expect to eat a higher type of ingredient, in a larger quantity for roughly the same price as other places,” says owner Ryan Miller, who is the president of Lexington-based parent company CKRG Enterprises LLC.
The tacos are twice the size of street tacos, but cost the same. All ingredients are non-GMO and organic. The meat is prepared using a sous-vide method, which cooks the meat in vapor for longer than usual at the perfect temperature. The temperature can be held for hours and hours, so you’re always getting the best cook.
Miller, who has a background as a classically trained chef, describes the tacos as internationally inspired yet Americanized.
Tacos range from classic favorites like al pastor and barbacoa to unique fillings like Korean BBQ and fried chicken. “The Merican” is basically a cheeseburger disguised as a taco, and “The Low Rider” is full of blackened Mahi Mahi. Other menu items include salads, burrito bowls, queso and chips.
There’s an option to build your own taco, and all tacos can be built into a burrito using their full-sized taco tortillas. A full bar is available with Mexican beers on tap and a variety of house made margaritas.
Painted Taco is a fast-casual style restaurant where food is ordered at the front and picked up at the window in the back. Tablets and handheld POS systems are used to make the ordering process more efficient. Patrons place their order up at the front and receive a text message when their food is ready to be picked up from the window in the back.
Miller, who also owns Mellow Mushroom locations in Lexington and Louisville, says Painted Taco was developed as a franchise. Future locations are planned to roll out in Nashville, Chicago, and Orange Beach, Alabama.
With previous plans to open in Distillery District, this project has been under development for five years, but Miller is pleased with where they ended up.
“The neighborhood is changing. Southland has great walkability and access to downtown. It’s the perfect place to have a super small footprint, but also have something really cool.”
Painted Taco is open seven days a week from 11 am to 10 pm, with later hours on weekends. Breakfast will be available on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer with plans to have breakfast all the time beginning in the fall.
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