Texas Taco Kitchen puts focus on fresh, homemade ingredients

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By Rachel Madison

The tortillas? Homemade.

The salsa? Homemade.

The chips? Homemade.

The dressings? You guessed it—homemade.

At Texas Taco Kitchen, owner Jordan Melchor takes pride in offering customers delicious foods, from the high-quality meats to the freshly chopped vegetables.

“I wanted to give Liberty Hill a nice fresh option,” he said. “We are a scratch kitchen. We break down all our own pork and beef, and our veggies are chopped fresh every day. There is fast food everywhere around here, but we wanted to be able to provide meals that are quick as well as high quality and fresh.”

Melchor wanted to open a taco restaurant because of his love for Mexican food, and several family recipes from his grandmother, aunt, and parents that he knew would be good quality and well executed. His background is in the restaurant hospitality industry, where he spent several years working for Smokey Mo’s BBQ.

“My family owned several Smokey Mo’s franchises, so I was brought up through the restaurant world,” Melchor said. “I started as a dishwasher and eventually moved up to the business side of things. I guess I liked it so much I decided to get out and open a restaurant on my own. I love interacting with people and building relationships. It’s not just about serving food and running a restaurant, it’s about the impact you can make on a community.”

Although Melchor has decades of experience in the restaurant industry, he, like the rest of the world, wasn’t prepared for the coronavirus pandemic. He opened his restaurant in early March, and after eight days, had to close and redesign his entire business plan.

“We had an excellent eight days, and then once everything happened, we decided to shut down and reconvene and figure out what we needed to do to fit the climate,” he said. “That’s when we brought in family meal packs and went to curbside service. We had spent over a year designing the guest experience and layout of the restaurant and we basically had 10 days to trash that plan and change it totally.”

Today, the dining room at Texas Taco Kitchen is still closed, but seating is available outside on the restaurant’s patio, and curbside is still available.

“We see 150 to 200 people a day, so we’re just not ready to reopen our dining room yet,” Melchor said. “I’ve got my grandmother-in-law and mother-in-law who are [immunocompromised] and we don’t want to risk that. Most people do online orders, which we just rolled out a few weeks ago, and we’ve gotten a fairly good response to it. Most people have been very understanding.”

Melchor, who is a part of the Liberty Hill community along with his wife, Nikki, and three daughters, said he chose Liberty Hill for his restaurant because he loves the area and is excited about the growth projected over the next several years.

The most popular dish at Texas Taco Kitchen is the beef fajita taco, Melchor said, because its marinated overnight, has nice marbling and is super tender.

“I dare anyone to find a tough piece of meat in the fajita taco, because it’s just so tender that it melts in your mouth,” he said.

Another favorite menu item is the green chili pork taco, which is pork butt broken down into cubes, seasoned and fried on a flat top grill to caramelize it. It then goes into a stock pot with a culmination of spices and tomatillo sauce and stews for two hours.

“We also have salads in big taco shells,” Melchor said. “It starts with a bed of romaine lettuce, and everything is customizable. It’s a build-your-own-style concept, so how you want it is how we make it. We also have bowls that come on a bed of rice, and you pick your protein and your toppings.”

Lastly, Texas Taco Kitchen’s family meal packs have been a big hit since the pandemic began. Melchor said those packs have been a saving grace for the restaurant, raising the ticket averages from $14 to $30.

“We really do appreciate the response we got when we opened and the continued support from the community,” Melchor added. “We have a handful of guests coming in multiple days a week, just because they want to see us through this. We love getting that support and seeing people wanting us to make it.”

For now, Melchor’s goal is to keep his restaurant’s foundation strong, but he hopes in the near future he will be able to reopen his dining room so people are actually able to see the ingredients and get to know the employees.

“We want to talk to people about what things are and bring those taqueria-style flavors more mainstream,” he said. “We want people to experience flavors they haven’t had before, whether it’s queso fresco or carne asada.”

Melchor added that guest experience is a huge part of his business, which is what sets his restaurant apart from others.

“We want to make your brain and your tummy and your heart feel good,” he said. “I believe food is about 45 percent of your experience, and the rest is how you felt when you walked in and how you felt when you left. I want my team to be genuine and provide hospitality for everyone who comes in or calls in an order. That’s what separates us.”

As far as growing the restaurant and expanding to other locations, Melchor said that’s not on the table for now, but in the future, he plans to expand to other nearby cities.

Texas Taco Kitchen, located at 14125 W. SH 29, is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Curbside orders can be placed by calling 512-548-5383 or visiting www.texastacokitchen.com.

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