You know you’re in for a good lunch hour at the brand, spankin’ new Willy Taco, when the server hands you a tequila menu while giving a detailed explanation of the best anejo and reposado before even mentioning the food. Oh, yeah, by the way, there are tacos.
A mere 40 minutes into lunch service today inside the remodeled Feed & Seed building, the line was 30 people deep in the lobby. Granted, Willy Taco is only three days into service, so the mad rush will likely die down a bit. But right now, you’re going to wait for a table if you’re there at peak time.
The service staff, however, doesn’t seem to be affected by the influx of new patrons. They operate much more like a well-oiled machine, not a new restaurant, while the kitchen is churning out tacos and tortas without delay.
The drink menu boasts 60-plus bottles of mezcal and tequila along with local brewery offerings — Thomas Creek, Brewery 85 and Quest — on tap.
And of course, tequila means margaritas, and Willy doesn’t disappoint.
For a traditional, no-frills margarita, our server recommended the Superfresh margarita —Milagro tequila blanco, agave nectar, fresh lime juice and salt. It lived up to its name.
Another strong contender is the house El Camino Daddy with Lunazul tequila reposado, fresh-squeezed orange and lime juices and agave nectar.
The food menu is what you’d expect at a taco joint with some welcome surprises. Starters include the usual guacamole, queso and fresh salsa, but sizzling Mexican street corn and jalapeño pesos —crispy jalapeño slices, pico, crumbled queso fresco and chipotle ranch — offer something you won’t find everywhere.
For entrees, you’ve got your salads, rice bowls, tortas, the oversized Dang Chimichanga, quesadillas and a burrito bowl over Adluh Flour jalapeño cheddar grits with guajillo braised collards, grilled street corn and fixings.
But the real stars of the menu are the tacos, which shouldn’t be surprising in a restaurant with taco in its name. What is surprising, however, is the portion size.
This is not your typical situation of ordering three tacos and still needing another basket of chips to help fill in the gaps. These nearly two-hand, bad boys range from $3.50-$6 and are loaded with meat, crisp veggies and just the right amount of sauce and pico.
To whet your appetite, there’s the Carolina Q (mojo pulled pork, southern slaw, chipotle BBQ sauce, spicy house pickles), Crispy Avocado (tempura battered avocado, shaved cabbage, sweet chili sauce, microgreens, toasted sesame seeds, Willy’s house crema, pico), Patagonia Steak (grilled marinated steak, shaved cabbage, chimichurri, charred tomatillos, chipotle ranch, frizzled onions, chopped onions), Mother Clucker (if a B.L.T. and chicken cheese steak had a love child) and Tuna Cobra Kai (chili seared yellow fin tuna, brown rice, shaved cabbage, dojo sauce, crushed cashews, pickled carrots, shaved radishes). Choose from soft flour or corn tortillas.
For dessert, if your frozen margarita doesn’t feed your sweet tooth quite enough, grab a King of Pops handcrafted popsicle for the road.
Open Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.