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Tacotarian: Winning Over Omnivores with Innovative Plant-Based Mexican Cuisine – vegconomist

Tacotarian is carving out a distinct niche within the Mexican food segment in the United States: 100% plant-based Mexican dishes, using house-made alternative proteins for a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

Launched in Las Vegas in 2018, Tacotarian’s mission is to redefine and modernize traditional Mexican-American dining, using authentic flavors, seasonings, and cooking methods coupled with plant-based proteins to provide an innovative option that appeals to a broad audience. In fact, the majority of Tacotarian customers aren’t even vegan or vegetarian, with 75% of patrons identifying as omnivores/flexitarians.

Modern approach to Mexican cuisine

Kristen Corral, cofounder of Tacotarian, told Nation’s Restaurant News, “Our concept is really good Mexican food that just happens to be vegan. When you think of a Mexican-American restaurant, you think of yellow and orange colors, and that’s not something you always see in Mexico. We’re doing Mexican in a very modern way — we brought in bright teal, black and white, and natural woods. Plus, we serve alcohol, which is not typical of vegan brands.”

Co-founded by two couples, Kristen and Carlos Corral and Dan and Regina Simmons, Tacotarian highlights its collaborative approach to the business on its website, with each founder bringing unique skills and perspectives to the table. According to Regina Simmons, this diversity has been key to the brand’s rapid scalability. Additionally, the founder’s roots in different regions of Mexico have influenced the menu development, providing a diverse range of items and flavor profiles for customers to experiment with.

Tacotarian
© Tacotarian

Tacotarian’s menu includes a large taco selection featuring house-made proteins such as seitan-based carne asada and al pastor, jackfruit barbacoa, beer-battered avocado, and other options incorporating Gardein and Beyond Meat products. Despite the labor-intensive process of crafting these proteins, Kristen Corral tells Nation’s Restaurant News that the efforts are worth it, aligning with Tacotarian’s goal to familiarize flexitarian diners with meat-free alternatives beyond the mainstream products available in retail outlets.

Simmons comments, “We didn’t want to be that basic vegan taco shop that only sells Beyond beef. Plus, a lot of vegans won’t even eat the Impossible and Beyond proteins, so it was important for us to create our own proteins.”

Expansion and future plans

Tacotarian currently has four locations in Las Vegas, plus one new location in San Diego, and reports it has sold over 900,000 tacos to date. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the founders have ambitious plans for the brand, including developing a consumer packaged goods (CPG) line in 2024, which promises further expansion and the launch of retail products, including birria and barbacoa.

Corral concludes, “My ideal vision for the brand would be to have a Tacotarian in every major city. A lot of cities don’t even have access to good Mexican food, especially in the Northeast. So I think people would really enjoy having our food in their city.”

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