When Stephenie asked me to look at Local Taco, I said “I will, but are you sure? That place looks new, hip, and likely to be full of people who are younger, prettier, and cooler than I am. Not sure about my noise tolerance there.” She said “no, that’s fine. You bring that valuable grumpy old man perspective to Rocket City Mom!”
(She actually said something marginally more diplomatic than that, but that was the gist. It’s OK. I can take it.)
Local Taco is a small regional chain that just opened a Huntsville location in Merchants Walk, the same shopping center as Whole Foods on Bob Wallace. We checked it out for a late lunch on Friday of a holiday weekend. We found a stylish and appealing indoor/outdoor space that was indeed full of cool people (even including some of my demographic). We were seated promptly and enjoyed a 1978-1986 soundtrack as we perused our menus.
(Hey. Maybe I do belong.)
Local Taco Menu
Local Taco features table service and a full bar, with a menu striving for fresh, tasty Tex-Mex that also includes local twists. So you get expected cuisine flavors, but fused with things like Nashville hot chicken or Alabama white barbecue sauce. The stars are, of course, tacos, but there are also a few other Tex-Mex staples. We started with The Trio—fresh tortilla chips with house-made salsa, queso, and guacamole. All of these dipping choices were good, but the guacamole was top-notch. (When we ran out of chips, we quickly dispatched the rest of it with forks.)
The tacos come on handy stand-up racks. Aaron went with the $8 “all day basket deal” that includes two tacos and a side. He had the local grilled chicken, with verde and pico; and the mission smoked chicken, with cole slaw and blanco Bama sauce. He spoke highly of his lunch, and his accompanying additional cole slaw was excellent—sweet and just juicy enough. (I made sure. Heh.)
Nathan had a Nashville hot chicken taco, a steak fajita taco, and The Dory, with hand battered fresh catfish. (Dory was/is a regal tang, but never mind.) We had another happy plate here. Additional tacos on the menu include adobo pork, baja shrimp, and other assorted deliciousness. Vegetarians will be pleased with a robust offering of zucchini, squash, onion, and poblano peppers, with queso and cilantro.
Lea’s brisket bowl included marvelously flavorful beef, with robust black beans and fresh pico. In the interest of variety for the review, I selected a steak quesadilla, and it was quite good, but not particularly personable given the rest of the menu. I’ll have to get back and have some different colors and flavors on my plate soon.
There is no dessert menu, though our server told us other locations have offered a local specialty or two as they’ve settled. She expected that may eventually happen in Huntsville.
Local Taco for Kids
The children’s menu, for diners under 12, includes several $5 choices. Quesadillas, macaroni and cheese, and chicken strips are available, and each comes with a choice of fresh fruit, sautéed vegetables, cilantro lime rice, or beans. (Keep in mind most tacos are $3 each, so those might be attractive options too.) Highchairs and booster seats are available. Restrooms are spacious single-seaters that do not include changing tables.
We received excellent and cheerful service throughout our lunch, and I expect we’ll find our way back to Local Taco. Our food was consistently excellent, and it’s a nifty space we enjoyed being in. It’s cool enough for a business lunch or some after-work libations, but it’s also accommodating enough for a good family dinner.
(Take it from a grumpy old man in training.)