Bartaco, the New York-based taco restaurant, is poised to take over South Florida.
The chain opened its third Florida location in Aventura yesterday. In total, the restaurant, which started with one island-themed eatery in Portchester, New York in December 2010, has 22 locations around the country.
Sabato Sagaria, president of Bartaco, says South Florida is a good fit for the chain that features well-priced food and drink in a convivial setting. "We've had some great success in Florida. The restaurant is resonating in Orlando and Tampa." Sagaria said his team chose Aventura as the first location because the city is constantly growing. "I'm getting to know Florida and the [Aventura] mall is a fixture in the community." Bartaco is located nea Aventura's new Aloft hotel and Barry's Bootcamp.
With so many local taco restaurants in South Florida like Coyo and Taquiza, Sagaria admits the area sets a high bar, but is convinced that the restaurant will be successful. "The food isn't Tex-Mex, it's not Mexican, it's a unique category that draws inspiration from those cuisines."
The restaurant executive, who has worked in fine dining establishments like Little Nell in Aspen and at Danny Meyer concepts, says the menu appeals to many palates including vegetarians. "It's designed for us to be very accommodating to different dietary concerns." At the end of the day, however, Sagaria says Bartaco is, "food made to be enjoyed with fresh squeezed cocktails in a fun and unpretentious environment."
The menu is broken down into three main sections: tacos, not tacos, and bowls. The average check, says Sagaria, is around $25 per person.
Tacos are well priced and include traditional selections like Baja fish with chipotle slaw ($2.50), mojo pork carnitas ($2.50), and carne asada ($3.50); as well as non-traditional tacos like cauliflower ($2.50), swordfish ($3.50), and roasted duck with tamarind glaze ($3.50). Items on the not-taco menu include street corn fritters ($6), gazpacho ($5), and duck quesadilla ($7).
Pair your tacos with a margarita made to order with Libélula joven tequila, fresh lime, agave, and Combier orange liqueur ($9.50).
The Aventura location leads the way for Bartaco to open more South Florida locations. Sagaria has his sights set on Wynwood next. "We will be expanding down into the Wynwood area later next year. We've been looking at this area for quite some time. We've been trying to understand where we fit and help contribute to the neighborhoods."
Bartaco. 2906 NE 207 St., Suite 104, Aventura; bartaco.com. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday; 11 a.m. to midnight Thursday to Saturday.