Ah, yes, Taco Bueno buildings. Such distinct architecture, so difficult to mask. But dammit if Habip Kargin, chef and owner of Pera Wine and Tapas, hasn't tried. This particular former Taco Bueno, near the corner of Belt Line and Preston, has been reincarnated several times over the years. It's been a fish fry, two burger joints and now, having reached enlightenment, a tapas bar. Pera Wine and Tapas is the second restaurant-child for Kargin, who opened Pera Turkish Kitchen in 2012. The white-washed stucco façade is not enough to conceal the building's roots, but once inside it's easy to forget about the sour cream guns. They've exorcised the ghosts of Crunchwrap Supremes. They've used warm neutrals, dark walls and white tablecloths to transform a once corporate and sterile environment into an intimate and inviting one. The interior retains an open layout, with a long rectangular bar stretching from the entrance back to the kitchen, which is tucked from view. Wining and dining on the patio, which faces Belt Line, represents a departure in ambience. While the staff has worked to keep the elements at bay, twinkly lights and potted plants can't quite distract from the surrounding scenery of cars zipping by and the office park across the street. The window dressings can't distract, no, but the food and booze can.
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