Fort Taco (8106 Manchester Road) opened on November 21, filling a drive-thru restaurant space formerly occupied by a Rally's location in Brentwood. The concept features two traditional Mexican-American dishes: tacos and enchiladas, with more items including chicken tacos and a family recipe for tamales slated to debut over time.
"We wanted to bring the taste of our hometown, Fort Madison, Iowa, to St. Louis," says vice president of operations Gabriel Patino, explaining that the city's flourishing Mexican community cultivated their own take on the popular dishes when his ancestors settled there decades ago to work on railroads. "Our version of the hamburger and fries is the taco and enchilada."
At Fort Taco, tortillas get made from scratch in-house and filled with fresh ingredients prepared daily. The "traditional soft-shell taco" ($3.85) gets fried to a light, pillowy consistency and filled with hamburger, cheese, lettuce and tomato. The "traditional enchilada" ($2.99) is a tortilla filled with potatoes, cheese and peas. Meal combos as well as mild and hot salsas ($.40) from scratch are also available, and it all gets handed off at the drive-thru window in road-ready boxes.
"Our focus is on fresh food fast, not fast food. We have no freezers or microwaves," says communications director Audrey Sosa, who contributes the salsa recipes from her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. Sosa helped developed the concept with her husband who is also an managing partner. "We want to brand this as real Mexican food you can get really quickly versus the experience at a sit-down restaurant -- we're cutting out the filler."
Fort Taco's current hours are Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Its owners plan to expand with two additional locations in Creve Couer and St. Charles. For the full menu and additional information, visit the Fort Taco website.
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