True Austin-style tacos have arrived in Frisco via Taco Shack, which opened November 4 at 8333 Preston Rd., just south of Main, in a space that was most recently Grandy's and Del Taco before that.
Taco Shack is a small, independent chain owned by husband-and-wife Orlando and Yoli Arriaga, who opened their first location in 1996 in central Austin. They now have eight locations across Austin, from downtown to Round Rock, but have retained their family-owned vibe with attentive, friendly service.
Orlando, who goes by "Big O," says they want customers to get a new perspective on the fast food experience with fresh food, friendly employees, and fast service, while maintaining the appearance and cleanliness of the highest standards.
They're open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with an especially vibrant collection of breakfast tacos that are a favorite among UT students, not the least of which is the fact that they all come in under $4.
A migas taco has eggs, cheese, tomato, onion, jalapeno, and bits of corn tortilla scrambled together. The Shack Taco is breakfast in a tortilla with eggs, chorizo, potatoes, and cheese. The El Nino taco has beans, chorizo, cheese, and jalapenos. Their most austere taco is the Lone Star: just slices of beef fajita on a flour or corn tortilla. That's dedication.
A gringo breakfast plate has eggs, bacon, beans, potatoes, and three tortillas, for $7.55.
At lunch and dinner, there are crispy tacos and soft tacos, with seasoned ground beef, chicken fajita, beef, fajita, and carne guisada. A fish taco has grilled catfish with cilantro-cabbage slaw and jalapeno ranch.
Vegetarian-wise, they do have refried black beans, but their rice is made with chicken broth.
While tacos are the No. 1 item, their menu includes most of your typical Tex-Mex dishes, including enchiladas, chalupas, quesadillas, nachos, burritos, and Chipotle-style bowls where you can build your own.
Weekly specials include a 3-taco plate with three ground beef crispy tacos, rice, and beans for $6.99 on M-W-F; and an enchiladas plate with two enchiladas topped with chili con carne sauce, with rice and beans for $7.69, on T-TH.
Both Orlando and Yoli are former teachers who are committed to supporting local schools, and focus most of Taco Shack's promotional dollars on school sponsorships, such as the annual "Taco Shack Bowl" football game between McCallum High School, Orlando's alma mater, and its rival Anderson High School.
Yoli says that they've had their eye on expanding to Dallas for a while when they learned the location in Frisco was available.
"We've wanted to come to the Dallas area for a long time," she says. "The manager of the Frisco store is one of Orlando's friends from high school, Patrick McNair, who lives in Plano; he'll help oversee the opening of a second location in Dallas proper."
Meanwhile, Yoli and "Big O" will pop up from Austin every week.
"We even got a place to live here so that hen we come up, it'll feel like home," she says. "When this space became available, it seemed like a no-brainer, and the people in Frisco have been incredibly nice. We love the family feel, and our first customers to come in had lived in Austin and knew about us already. It felt like a welcome from friends."