Locals Tacos & Tequila owner Jim Speros had planned his restaurant in Haymarket for two years. But with the pandemic, all construction ceased. Fortunately for him, so did operations of the beloved Mokomandy, the Great Falls Plaza Shopping Center neighbor of one of his Velocity Wings locations. The landlord offered him the space, and in 65 days he was able to make the cosmetic changes necessary to open his long-planned restaurant concept in a different location. It debuted last week.
Speros seeks to go a cut above with his menu. Nachos, for example, skip the typical topping of ground beef in favor of braised short ribs. The bill of fare was almost set when his chef, Jose Lobo, took him for a meal at La China Poblana Taqueria in Manassas. There, he encountered the suddenly trendy birria taco for the first time.
“In July, we did one of our last tastings and it was tremendous. Not everybody is going to like every taco. This was the only taco everybody said they loved and it was going to be the signature. We are one of the few people who do it and I think we do it right,” says Speros.
The other 19 tacos on the menu are divided between traditional tacos such as carnitas, chorizo and barbacoa, and Locals’ specialty tacos. Those range from breakfast tacos and California-style fish tacos to the Americano Taco, basically a cheeseburger in a tortilla.
But the restaurant is just as devoted to drinks as to tacos. There are 10 signature margaritas, including watermelon and berry flavors. Every day, there are two frozen margaritas, which rotate regularly, but may include flavors such as coconut and strawberry. Demand has required Speros to invest in some top-shelf tequilas too. “We have about 30 different types of tequilas and will probably expand beyond 40,” says Speros.
The owner hopes that this franchise will have legs. The Haymarket location is still slated for late November or early December. After that, he hopes to continue to expand. // 20789 Great Falls Plaza, Suite 176, Sterling
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