Tacolicious throws open its Palo Alto doors

PALO ALTO — Peninsula taco lovers, rejoice.

As of today, you can satisfy your craving for Tacolicious’ made-to-order guac, shot-and-a-beer braised chicken tacos, or margarita fresca at the famed San Francisco restaurant’s freshly-opened Palo Alto location.

The Emerson St. outpost is Tacolicious’ third venture, coming after the original Marina location on Chestnut St. and the Mission edition on Valencia.

Why Palo Alto? Tacolicious owner Joe Hargrave told SFBay:

“We wanted to expand the brand a little bit, because we have two locations in San Francisco. I don’t think Palo Alto relies on San Francisco, whereas any of the other Peninsula communities are supported by San Francisco. But here, it feels insular.”

A definite symbiosis exists between Palo Alto and The City. Lots of people live in The City and commute down south, or vice versa. Tons of local college grads and people who have lived in or moved to either location makes a Tacolicious in Palo Alto a no-brainer.

Palo Alto manager and previous Tacolicious executive chef, Telmo Faria, will be heading the Palo Alto team with chef Charlie Cardona and sous chef Mike Roon. Faria told SFBay:

“There’s a really strong relationship between San Francisco and Palo Alto. There’s a lot of back and forth and a lot of similarities.”

The Palo Alto location is similar to Valencia and Chestnut St., with Tacolicious’ signature homemade blue and yellow tile floors that Hargrave first admired in their sous chef’s home in Mexico, metal bar stools, open kitchen and full bar.

Palo Alto, though, is also individualized, with the largest bar yet, more vegetarian options on the menu and a unique mural done by artist Paul Madonna, who also did the Dolores Park mural at the Valencia location.

Palo Alto also gets a panoramic view of Atotonilco el Alto, a town in the highlands of central Mexico that is home to one of Tacolicious’ favorite tequila distilleries, with the words “We had another drink, and as the night wore on, he told us his story” stretching across.

Faria also said that because of a big happy hour scene in Palo Alto, Tacolicious will offer a “five at five” special: Five food items and five bar items, all for five dollars each.

They’re also committed to offering Palo Alto a late night dining option.  The restaurant will be open until midnight every Friday and Saturday.

As a hub for techies, students and families, Faria told SFBay downtown Palo Alto is an ideal location for a restaurant like Tacolicious:

“There’s a lot going on down here right now, there’s a lot of vibrancy to the city. People are very welcoming and very excited about the idea. We found a really good location so we were excited to make the move.”

Tacolicious is also plotting their last San Francisco expansion in what used to be Caffe Maria on Stockton Street in North Beach, coming this summer.