A small, acclaimed taqueria chain is jumping onto one of the biggest trends in Mexican food. Taco Ocho, a family-owned chain with three locations north of Dallas, has added more than two dozen vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes to the menu, including tacos, tostadas, and quesadillas.
Founder-owner Mani Bhushan says that they've been expanding their menu in response to customer requests, namely a demand for vegetarian fare.
"I am thrilled to see the interest for vegetarian and vegan options," Bhushan says. "The items have been very popular so far, but I’m not surprised. They are absolutely delicious."
The new dishes include five vegan tacos, all on flour tortillas:
- Madre Tierra featuring kale, sweet corn, red bell pepper, potatoes, and red onions sautéed in a Uruguayan sauce
- Ranchero with black beans, roasted potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, elote, tortilla strips in a ranchero jalapeño sauce
- Rico Ocho with black beans, plantains, potatoes, chili sauce, onions, jicama, green & red cabbage, and cilantro
- Pura Vida with black beans, lettuce, guacamole, plantains, cilantro, red onions, serrano peppers, and spinach
- Ocho Maya with zucchini, corn, red onions, poblanos, and red bell peppers
They also have a very clever vegetarian breakfast taco featuring chickpea scramble with pico de gallo and tortilla strips.
Four vegetarian tostadas feature upscale ingredients stacked on a crisp corn tortilla, as follows:
- Yucatan, with potatoes, poblanos, corn, red onions, black bean spread, sour cream, and cotija cheese
- Azteca, with black bean spread, guacamole, lettuce, pico de gallo, queso fresco, cilantro crema
- Caribbean, with plantains, black bean spread, rice, salsa, shredded lettuce, sour cream
- Amor Puro, with corn, sweet potatoes, kale, black bean spread in a sweet and spicy tomatillo sauce
Quesadillas include an unusual vegan offering made without cheese: Sweet Potatoes & Black Bean quesadilla features black bean spread, sweet potatoes, roasted corn, and cilantro topped with guajillo-tamarind drizzle. There's also a vegetarian spinach & black bean with roasted corn, poblanos, red bell peppers, and zucchini.
Bhushan, who had worked for companies such as PepsiCo, Yum! Brands, and Blockbuster, founded Taco Ocho in 2011 as a Mexican restaurant inspired by Latin cuisine with classic techniques. Every item is made-to-order using fresh ingredients, with inspiration from Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
Three locations include the original in Richardson, plus Frisco and Flower Mound. They keep long hours, open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Each offers delivery, online ordering, takeout, and full-serving dining.