A Taste of Miami Comes to Town

Ten years ago, my family lived in what I always thought was the best part of our city.  It was near TCU, 5 minutes from downtown and close to all of the development.  New restaurants – good, creative ones were going in all of the time.  We never ate at chains and frequently knew the owners of those we did frequent.  That hasn’t changed.  It’s still a great area.  Sadly, we don’t live there anymore.

In 2002 several factors collided and caused us to decide to move north.  Still in Fort Worth – but just barely.  There were some good things about living here.  We put our kids into a better school district and we were closer to my parents.  My mother was sick at the time and close seemed very important.  But for the past 8 years the thing that has always bothered me about this area is the lack of good, independently owned restaurants.  We have all of the big chains and some are okay.  But I miss those hole-in-the-walls where owners have thrown caution to the wind and opened because they just thought they had something worth sharing.  This means that when a new place goes in around us, I want to be the first to give it a try.  If it’s good, I want to tell people about it and I want them to go because I really want the local places to succeed and, in this economy, they need all the help they can get!

When we noticed a new place had opened up on North Tarrant Parkway, we had to go.  The brightly colored neon sign in turquoise and pink drew our attention in our usual stone, brick and brown neighborhood.  The place was called the South Beach Taco Factory.  I now say with a bit of embarrassment that I knew nothing about it.  I really do need a job where I can keep up with these things.  I’d love that.  If you know of one, let me know.  For now though, I’m a wife and mother with a very busy family and a blog.

We walked into the South Beach Taco Factory completely blind, which might be a great way to do it.  We had been running errands and decided to stop for lunch.  At 11:45 on a Tuesday, we were very literally the only customers in the place.  The menu was vast.  Tacos (many different kinds offered on crispy, soft corn or soft flour tortillas), Nachos, Burrito Bowls, Burritos, Salads and such.  Flavored margaritas, beer and wine were also on the menu.  Things were looking good.

I later learned that South Beach Taco Factory is owned by the same people who have brought you the very popular Yucatan Taco Stand.  This is their “fast food” concept and an answer to the numerous burger places and sandwich shops in the area.  The tacos are evidently the same but served in a quicker, more casual environment.

After being momentarily blown away by the menu, we placed our order.  I ordered the Taco Plate ($7) with one grilled shrimp taco and one tequila lime chicken taco both on soft corn tortillas.  Ty ordered the same but with one garlic beef taco and one ground sirloin taco on flour.  We were then offered free margaritas!  Yes, free.  The Taco Factory has not yet been granted a liquor license so for a limited time, they’re GIVING away alcohol.  SCORE!!!  I opted for a strawberry/mango swirl margarita and Ty went straight-up mango.  As we waited for our food, we headed to the salsa bar.  It looked amazing.  Several types of salsas were offered including a chunky pineapple salsa (medium), South Beach Salsa (hot), Tomatillo Salsa (medium) and Habanero Salsa (stupid).  We loaded up on the options and waited.

When the food arrived, it looked beautiful and hearty.  It was served with black beans and Cuban rice which, while a bit bland, had a nice texture and complimented the bright flavors in the tacos.  All of the tacos were delicious.  My favorite of the four was the grilled shrimp.  They were delicious and made you feel like you were eating somewhat healthy.  I’m anxious to explore the rest of the menu.  I did stop by again on Sunday night to pick up a to-go order.  The place was packed and they had run out of alcohol!  It seems that word has gotten out.  I will also say though, that my beans and rice weren’t quite as good as they had been for lunch.  They’ll need to watch their quality during the busy times if they want to continue to succeed.  All in all though, I’m impressed and have high hopes for the newest local eatery to grace our neck of the woods.

The South Beach Taco Factory is located at 5500 North Tarrant Parkway in Keller next to Aldi and Academy.  They are open Sunday-Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.  Closed Monday.

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