Fort Worth's Austin-Inspired Taco Shop Opens Thursday

Austin City Taco Co.

Austin City, meet Panther City.

Austin-style tacos hit the Fort on Thursday when Austin City Taco Co. celebrates its grand opening, 7 a.m. at 517 University Drive, next to the newly opened Funkytown Fermatorium by Deep Ellum Brewing.

This is the first restaurant for owner Cam Powell, who fell in love with the Austin vibe and its casual taqueria scene while he was a student at UT. "He dreamed up Austin City Taco Co.," says Juan Rodriguez, chef and owner of the acclaimed Magdalena's Catering and Events, who is serving as the culinary director for the new venture.

The restaurant pays homage to laid-back, Central Texas barbecue and taco joints. Joe Riscky of Joe Riscky's Barbeque even stopped by last week to take Austin City's new J&R Smoker out for a spin and work with the staff on proper smoking and slicing techniques for their four (12-hour smoked) brisket-filled taco offerings.

The Smokehouse, Rodriguez says, is “for the brisket lover,” with three ounces of sliced brisket, slaw and jalapeño sauce. Another, called the Revolution, is a chopped version with fried onion strings and buttermilk ranch dressing.                          

Eastside-style tacos come filled with chicken, pork or brisket, along with chopped white onion and cilantro. "These are simple — built for folks who just want a classic street taco,” Rodriguez says.

Diners can also top their tacos with four specially crafted sauces: guajillo, fresh jalapeño, habanero and jalapeño-vinegar. The hand-pressed tortillas are two color — blue and white — corn tortillas.

Austin City will also serve five different breakfast tacos all day. One is filled with migas; three are egg-based with either chorizo, bacon or potato. Another, called Midnight Craving, has chopped brisket, egg and buttermilk ranch dressing.

For Austin City’s Cheat Day Queso, Rodriguez says the restaurant went through 20 different trials before landing on a recipe that blends both yellow and white American cheese and cream. Customers also have the option of adding bacon jam. Soft serve ice cream, made from a Wisconsin dairy base, adds honey oat cereal flavoring and is topped with Fruity Pebbles.

With no taps — a rarity in the saturated area, where 25 – 50 are the norm — Austin City will instead offer frozen margaritas and sangria swirls, as well as canned beers and wines.

The interior design, with seating for 40 people, includes brick walls, funky floor tiles and pops of yellow and turquoise. A covered patio adds an additional 22 seats.

Expect to see more of the Austin City Taco Co. brand popping up in the near future. Plans are already in the works to open other locations in the Fort Worth-Dallas area. The restaurant is currently in the location assessment phase.

Hours will be Monday – Wednesday, 7 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Thursday – Saturday 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. Closed on Sunday.