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Lifted Taco, a new fast-casual eatery coming to Woodin Creek Village, hopes to make its mark as a “local food service escape” with a “laidback vibe and extreme taco happiness.” 

The restaurant is set to open its doors for take-out and delivery on Tuesday, Dec. 29. Initially scheduled to open in May, its development was delayed as a result of the pandemic.

“My original plan pre-COVID was to create a place where you can go in a neighborhood and leave your worries at the door,” said Owner John Cannon.

He said the name Lifted Taco can have different meanings to different people, although the primary purpose is to provide an “uplifting vibe.” 

“I don't think tacos ever make anyone sad,” he said. “I think they pretty much always make someone happy.”

In an effort to establish a unique experience for patrons, the taco eatery is shifting away from traditional Mexican food and focusing on recipes with unlikely ingredients. 

Cannon said Lifted Taco will have breakfast tacos every morning until 11 a.m. There will be a breakfast burrito, however, it is the only burrito served on the entire menu, he added. 

“We are a taco place, not a burrito place,” he said.

The lunch and dinner menu will include 12 tacos at all times, ranging from a combination of meat and non-meat types, as well as two rotating seasonal ones. Cannon, who is not the chef, created the original taco at home when he was just messing around, he said. 

He said the concept for the Wine Drunk Shortrib taco was inspired by his grandmother’s German roast recipe. The rest of the tacos were built around that one, he added. 

According to Cannon, another unique specialty menu item is the BBQ Bacon Meatloaf taco. He said the idea formed out of making leftovers from his mother-in-law’s meatloaf casserole. The menu also includes the Southwest Falafel taco, he noted, which is its own version of a falafel with Southwest spices and flavors.

“We're trying to be known to think outside the box, but at the same time, create a familiar flavor that doesn't also weird people out,” Cannon said.

Rather than carne asada or ground beef, Lifted Taco will use thinly-sliced and seared ribeye on a fresh corn tortilla with fried cheese, refried beans and avocado puree. Other tacos include chicken, shrimp, fish, in addition to a seasonal mushroom taco and a citrus-glazed roasted beet taco. 

“We're not a vegan restaurant,” he said. “But we want to be known as a place where vegan people can go and have a decent selection.”

Cannon said there are 11 items currently on the vegan menu, a few of them being breakfast-related meals and the rest being a combination of tacos and sides. A gluten free menu will be extracted from the current one as well. 

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Lifted Taco also offers house-made “churro doughnut holes” with various sauce options, including horchata rum flavor. 

While this concept was originally created to provide a “neighborhood food service escape,” Cannon said, his team had to change gears and prepare to be a to-go and delivery restaurant. 

He said the chef has been testing out the menu by making the tacos at his house and bringing them to meetings. Through this process, he said, they actually decided to leave a couple items off the delivery menu because they tasted better in-house.

“We've been testing all these things extensively lately,” he said. “If the tacos are good 20 minutes later in a box, you know they're going to be good right off the line.” 

Once the restaurant eventually opens for indoor seating, Cannon said he plans to fill the place with American-style reggae to project an uplifting atmosphere.

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