UPDATE 9-30-2020: The taco shop and hidden cocktaileria will open on Thursday, October 8.
Deep Ellum has a new taqueria in the wings — one that will come with a hidden bar. Called Basic Taco, it's from restaurateur Joel Roland, who opened Real Nice Place, a friendly breakfast-and-lunch spot in downtown Dallas that just happens to serve breakfast tacos, in early 2019.
Basic Taco started out as a food truck, with an avid following in Deep Ellum, where it has done installations at locations such as Deep Ellum Brewing, The Nines, and Bottled Blonde.
They got the opportunity to go into a killer location at 2901 Commerce St. at the corner of Malcolm X Boulevard, one that served as a parking lot for more than a decade but was once a gas station. The structure still stands and is listed on the Texas Historic Commission website as having been built in 1945 in a distinctive moderne/streamline style. (Although Property Shark says 1948, but let's just go with the '40s.)
"We worked with Madison Properties, who always thought this space would be great for a taco stand," Roland says. They're working on the space and plan to be open in winter 2019.
Deep Ellum did coincidentally have tacos in a gas station at Bowls & Tacos, but it was at the very north end of Deep Ellum, and it closed in February. The neighborhood still has tacos at the chef-driven Revolver Taco Lounge. But Basic Taco will be less formal and more of a casual taco spot.
"We will have a limited menu with eight taco options," Roland says. "We'll have four basic street tacos, including al pastor, carne asada, asada chicken, and a simple great-tasting veggie option. We will also have what some people call 'gourmet' tacos, with shrimp and smoked brisket."
They'll also do burritos, salads, and a twist on the quesadilla that Roland is not yet ready to reveal, ooh intriguing.
"'Basic' is anything but," he says. "It will offer affordable and traditional D.F. tacos, with carefully sourced proteins, and veggies at a reasonable price. We want the best responsibly sourced food for our customers. It will be fresh, no freezers, no micro ovens, we will also have plenty of vegetarian and a few vegan options as well. So plenty for all."
The fun part is that it will also house a little hidden bar-within-the-restaurant called Yellow Rosa.
"We're planning an incredible tequila bar, with a good amount of mezcal," Roland says. "It'll be a unique take on the speakeasy, with a Latino theme, very romantic — a place to visit as a pre-party stop, but also very neighborhood and private."
One thing they are definitely doing: late-night hours.
"We'll be open late nights on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, until 3 am, as an added option to amazing places like Serious Pizza, Buzzbrews, and Cafe Brazil, that stay open and serve food after the bars are closed," he says.