Tacocracy opens for lunch, builds on Northside connections

Part taco shop, part neighborhood reunion, Tacocracy opened in Northside in August and has already created its own popular niche in the community's lively local food scene.

Located in the new Northside International Airport and the former Jacob's nightclub space, Tacocracy sits in the center of the action, serving up airport-themed items, like a range of "taco flights" that include as few as two and as many as seven of the spot's primary menu items.

Duck tacos, Korean beef tacos, "schmashed tater" tacos and chips baked with sea salt and lime juice round out the simple, tasty menu developed by owner Kevin "Pogo" Curtis. The Middletown native has called Northside home for the past six years, and has worked at nearly every restaurant in the neighborhood: Melt and The Comet as well as former venues The Hideaway, Northslice and Portofino. 

"I'm always looking for how to make it better," he says of his dishes. 

Curtis says that with his first foray as a restaurant owner, attention to detail is everything. He's proud of the duck taco—"It's so rich, it's like meat candy"—and looks forward to adding his soups to the menu. 

But his investment doesn't stop there. He and friends worked for a year to transform the space into Tacocracy, a name he landed upon as he considered creating independent taco shop with no intention of being authentically Mexican. 

They turned a hallway into a dish room and decorated creatively for a very DIY, Northside feel, he says. For example, the strings of LPs hanging in the patio were part of a "tacos for vinyl" exchange, explains Northside International Airport "queen mother," Aileen McGrath.

Curtis, whose artwork hangs throughout NIA, has been overwhelmed by the positive response so far, and a friendly partnership with nearby Listing Loon has made life without a liquor license a lot easier.

Tacocracy opens for lunch starting this week, and Curtis hopes to add late night hours during the weekends in the future. 

"I love the hood," he says, "and I want to see if it can be even more awesome."

By Elissa Yancey
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