Torchy's Tacos Spreads Like Brush Fire From Austin to Dallas

Fire! A fire has been ignited by a new taco shop that opened today. Sure, another taco shop isn't really breaking news, except these are exported from Austin. And they're not just any Austin tacos. They belong to Torchy's Tacos. First opened in August 2006, the original Torchy's Tacos outpost was a patina-ed trailer watched over by a devilish cupid. It's still parked in the South Austin trailer-park food court and joined by five other locations, the latest in North Dallas.

Co-owner Michael Rypka, a.k.a Torchy, the culinary brains behind the mini-chain's inventive take on our favorite handy eats, said the expansion into Dallas was driven by customer demand. "We wouldn't have opened here if people didn't want us too. We received about 500 e-mails and wall posts on our Facebook page."

At the soft opening last night, the interior design was a work in progress, with four chandeliers left to be installed this week and blue painters tape still lining some of the squiggle-shaped mirrors. Still, the Dallas shop has an elegant red and black color scheme, a counterpoint to the utilitarian look of many of the Austin locations.

Menu highlights include the Brushfire, a combination of jerk chicken, grilled jalapenos, mangos, sour cream and cilantro slathered with kickin' Diablo sauce and wrapped in a flour tortilla, which our very own Alice Laussade, The Cheap Bastard, said "banged my mouth with happiness." The taco of the month, Damn BP, filled with achiote-grilled shrimp, cooked cabbage slaw, pickled onions and jalapenos, mango, queso fresco, cilantro and jalapeno tartar sauce, was another winner. It left a pleasant burning in at the back of the mouth. Torchy's doesn't stint by serving the average two-bite tacos. Two of its huge tacos will satisfy even the most voracious eater.

Vegetarians will want to spoon with the fried avocado and Dirty Sanchez. We personally can't wait for the Thanksgiving special, a gluttonous taco of fried turkey with mole, rice, avocado, queso fresco and cilantro. (It's what we were most thankful of in 2009.)

Those who prefer Tex-Mex mainstays can order the fajita plate or burrito.

If Monday's turnout is any indication, Torchy's foray into the Big D taco landscape will be a conflagration customers won't want extinguished.

Torchy's Tacos 5921 Forest Lane, Suite #200 972-720-9201

And then there's this from Hanna Raskin, who sampled Torchy's today: The fried avocado wasn't as much fun as those two words together might imply, but the refried beans provided a good foundation for a creamy chipotle sauce. Even after a crosstown trip, the Baja shrimp taco, featuring plump, delicately fried shrimp tucked into a bed of crisp cabbage slaw and pickled onions, was fantastic.

The new location is open Mon.-Thurs, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri., 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat., 8 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

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