OneTaco opened in the former Mighty Bird space at 2900 W. Anderson Lane, Ste. 14, Austin.
Co-owners Tony Avila and Axel Beverido aim to bring a traditional Mexican taqueria and cerveceria—a restaurant specializing in tacos and beer, respectively—to the city.
“There’s probably five or six different types of tacos in Mexico,” Avila said. “What you want to do is perfect them and make them taste as best as you can and work on your environment. It’s not about experimenting … or inventing the taco. It’s about being true to the tradition.”
Avila, who works at an architecture firm, and Beverido, an engineer, met while attending college in Monterrey, Mexico and said they did not want their restaurant to be another Torchy’s Tacos or Tacodeli, so they stuck with what they knew: authentic Mexican tacos.
That’s why customers won’t see lettuce or cheddar cheese available on tacos.
“We’re not like that; our concept is a Mexican taqueria, and we want to keep it that way,” Beverido said.
Learning the business
Despite not having a culinary background, Avila and Beverido opened a food truck in November 2009 off Sixth Street in downtown Austin.
“The food truck scene was booming but there were not a lot of successful ones,” Avila said. “… We were told it’s only a 1 percent success rate of food trucks, but we battled it out.”
The traditional Al Pastor Taco comes with marinated pork, onions, cilantro and pineapple on a corn tortilla.[/caption]
One month later, the duo had built a relationship with staff at Little Woodrow’s and moved their truck to the bar’s location at Sixth and Nueces Street.
At first, Avila and Beverido were the only two employees, and with their lack of knowledge about running a restaurant, they quickly learned the challenges of trying to make money in the food service industry. Avila said they didn’t even make a profit the first year.
“We always had it in the back of our mind that we wanted to open a restaurant,” Avila said. “We saw the food truck as a means to get there. … We kept growing internally, and we made the product and presentation better as time went by.”
In 2013, after years of gaining experience running a restaurant and tweaking their product, the duo started looking for spots to open a physical space, a feat that proved to be challenging.
“As small businesses, banks don’t trust you,” Avila said.
But they found a second-generation spot, one that was previously a restaurant, and opened the first brick-and-mortar location in the former Mighty Bird location in June 2016 on Research Boulevard in Northwest Austin.
The owners of OneTaco aim to bring authentic Mexican street tacos to Austin.[/caption]
Their broker from AQUILA Commercial later gave them the heads-up that the second Mighty Bird on Anderson Lane would be closing, so Avila and Beverido jumped at the opportunity to open a second space.
For the restaurants, they brought in Corona tables and other decor from Mexico to give the space the impression it had been transported from Mexico. The exterior of the Research Boulevard space is vivid orange with a turquoise mask.
“We thought of making something different, something that looks Mexican, something cool, so we came up with the idea of the mask,” Beverido said. “It was a hit.”
With Austin being a very competitive market for restaurants, Avila said he has some advice for food truck owners wanting to open their own brick-and-mortar locations.
“Just don’t give up,” Avila said. “There were a lot of instances where we thought it just wouldn’t happen.”
Avila said OneTaco’s success is built on five areas: location, brand, customers, quality and passion.
“There’s passion behind what we do,” Avila said.