When So-Cal Tacos got its start, it had four wheels.
The Southern California-style taco shop, which has had a brick-and-mortar presence in Grapevine since 2013, started as a food truck.
“Back then everyone was just doing late night, the bar scene,” owner Scott Wooley said. “And there’s no money in the bar scene. And we looked at what everyone else was doing and figured if we did the same thing, we’re going to get similar results. … So we went to the suburbs.”
After So-Cal Tacos developed a following in the area, Wooley and his wife, Susan, decided to bring their concept to a sit-down restaurant as well.
Just as So-Cal Tacos approached the food truck market in a distinctive way, the restaurant aims to provide a different take on tacos than the traditional Tex-Mex style.
“We missed our favorite tacos from Southern California,” Wooley said. “… [So-Cal Tacos has] not as much of an emphasis on charring and grilling but more of an emphasis on super fresh ingredients.”
The food truck opened Oct. 15, 2011, about a year after Wooley had been diagnosed with cancer. Although the cancer went into complete remission, the experience affected his priorities.
“Food is a universal language; it breaks down all barriers,” he said. “… It was never about building a business; it was about loving on people.”
In addition to the restaurant’s dine-in and carryout business, So-Cal Tacos has an extensive catering business. So-Cal Tacos has refined using its food truck to feed 500 to 600 people at one event.
The So-Cal Tacos brand is planning to expand in the coming years, Wooley said. He is looking to move to areas in Dallas such as University Park or Highland Park for a second physical location.
Any time customers eat So-Cal Tacos’ food, whether in Grapevine or at an event, Wooley said he wants them to be able to relax and enjoy themselves.
“We’re trying to create an atmosphere where people can just come in and take a deep breath,” he said. “… Get some good food and beverage, get some good vibes, and then go back out in the world and spread the love.”
2140 Hall Johnson Road, Ste. 118, Grapevine
Hours: Sun.-Mon. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Tue.-Thu. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.