Taco shake-up

Beloved Clarksville neighborhood cafe shutters as new taco bar rolls in

Beloved Clarksville neighborhood cafe shutters as taco bar rolls in

Zocalo Cafe interior
Zocalo Cafe will be closing in June. Zocalo Cafe/Facebook

On the small restaurant row that runs along West Lynn Street, there’s not much changeover. Jeffrey’s has defined Austin fine dining since 1975, Cipollina began welcoming the Clarksville cafe society in 1999, and relative newcomer Caffe Medici has been making latte art since 2006.

But soon there will be a major shake-up as Zocalo Cafe shutters to make way for a new location of Taco Flats.

On March 29, Taco Flats owner Simon Madera announced via release that he has acquired the 12-year-old restaurant. The popular lunch and brunch spot will at first see little changes. Starting April 1, Madera will take over operations with a new menu, but keep the interior as-is so fans have a chance to say goodbye.

“I recognize Zocalo Cafe as a beloved neighborhood restaurant, and I don’t want the community to lose that overnight,” said Simon Madera in a release. “I want to keep the restaurant operating while we finalize plans to bring our unique bar approach to this historic Clarksville neighborhood.”

The restaurant will then close for renovations on June 1. The team expects an approximately two-month pause before reemerging as Taco Flats.

The menu at the new eatery will be retained from the original outpost. Diners can look forward to street tacos like al pastor house roasted on a vertical trompo as well as approachable snacks like quesadillas, flautas, and chips and queso. The location will also serve margaritas, micheladas, and other cocktails.

Zocolo owners Chris Courtney, Kelly Chappell, and Jay Bunda will remain on board as minority partners in the new operation but will be focusing on the expanding the other prongs of their operation, namely Galaxy Cafe and Top Notch Hamburgers. A second location of the latter will be opening in Hutto in early 2020.

“We love Zocalo and are proud of what we've accomplished here. We just need to focus our efforts on the future of our company and pass the space along to a concept like Taco Flats,” said Chappell. “We believe that Simon will give the neighborhood what it wants.”