A beloved Dallas taco shop has found (another) new home: Trompo, the taqueria from owner Luis Olvera which has earned national acclaim, will open in Oak Cliff at 337 W. Jefferson Blvd.
This is the former home of Kookie Haven, which closed in early July.
Trompo has relocated a few times in the past few years, including stints in Oak Cliff and in East Dallas. Will this finally be the one?
"I'm grateful to have found this spot, and I feel like it's going to be a great fit," Olvera says.
Trompo is famous for its tacos, quesadillas, and corn tortillas made in-house — sufficiently famous that it earned a spot on a list of the 50 best new restaurants in America in 2016 by Bon Appetit magazine, the only Dallas restaurant that year to make the list, which they described thusly:
"Owner Luis Olvera oversees the creation of some of the best tacos we've had all year. There are three simple but surreal tacos: deep-pink al pastor, which reaches its crispy-juicy peak thanks to the trompo (the rotating vertical spit); bistek (beef); and surprisingly good vegetarian paneer-poblano, all set on house-made corn tortillas and sprinkled with onions and cilantro."
Olvera and his taqueria have been media darlings over the years: In 2017, Trompo was named one of the 10 Best Restaurants in Dallas in CultureMap's annual Tastemaker Awards, and then again in 2018. Olvera also received a Tastemaker Awards nomination in 2018 for Best Chef.
That same year, Trompo was one of three taquerias featured in a documentary series produced by PBS Digital called Tacos of Texas, based on a book with the same name.
At one point, Olvera had two locations, one in Bishop Arts and the other on Gaston Avenue. But due to the pandemic and other life challenges, he closed both and reverted to operating out of a ghost kitchen.
He'd actually begun to consider moving to Mexico where he still has family. His tales about Dallas landlords are frustrating, such as false promises of "turnkey" status when the spaces were nowhere near that. Or the slumlord who'd threaten eviction unless Olvera made payments for things like water bills that weren't his responsibility.
When he showed up at his first location on Singleton Boulevard in 2016, he was joined by sheriffs and previous tenants whose property had been seized by the landlord and promised to an unwitting Olvera.
"I deserve some credit for my own ignorance and bliss," he says. "I came into this thinking it was all rainbows and butterflies, I think I lasted only by sheer will. But eventually I decided to do a re-set and try to make decisions in a different way."
He's now working on the new location which he calls "probably the most ideal place." One addition is that he'll be able to serve alcohol as well as food. Over the next few months, he'll transition out of the ghost kitchen and into the new space, with a hoped-for opening in October.
To celebrate, he's hosting a pop-up on August 25 at 626. W. Davis St. that he's calling "Trompo Homecoming," as in, back to Oak Cliff.
"I've been on a journey, I hope it ends here," he says.