“We have the most tacos in the universe,” Regina Simmons laughs from across the table inside the soon-to-open Tacotarian (6135 S. Fort Apache) in Las Vegas.
The 20th vegan restaurant to open in Las Vegas and the eighth to open since March 2018, this fast-casual spot is set to feature at least 12 different types of tacos. So, while it may not be the most in the universe, it is definitely the most vegan taco options in Las Vegas.
But, Tacotarian isn’t just serving tacos.
Tapping into the executive chef skills of John Simmons of Firefly, the menu is a blend of traditional Mexican eats … and some more fun and funky options, too, like elote rolled in Takis and Frito pie topped with chili.
Diners can also expect dishes like dry fideo seco, flautas and even concha loca, a traditional Mexican pastry veganized and stuffed with ice cream from Nourish Creamery.
“John is wonderful,” says Simmons. “He is an amazing chef and we wanted to use his expertise to make an amazing menu.”
Founded by Grupo 33 — a partnership between Simmons and her husband Dan, and Carlos and and Kristen Corral — the team formed at Firefly where three of them have management roles. They came together to create Tacotarian.
The goal of Tacotarian is two-fold: to create plant-based versions of authentic Mexican food and to rid people of misconceptions about vegan food … one taco at a time.
“We believe that changing peoples’ minds about vegan food is important and that’s how to make change,” explains Simmons of the flavor-packed menu.”We believe that this is a small difference we can do in this world and if we can make people like vegan food, it will be amazing.”
Simmons thinks food is the way to helping people change to a vegan diet, and with that in mind, the plans for Tacotarian already include expansion.
“We really think every neighborhood needs a vegan taco shop,” she says. “If you make it so every neighborhood has one … maybe we can change their minds to go vegan.”
To make it a neighborhood hot spot, Tacotarian plans to offer weekday specials and a happy hour. The vegan restaurant also has a bar serving craft beer by Local Craft Beer, including Plant Based Drippin and a custom Tacotarian beer, as well as a selection of margaritas.
While no official date has been announced, expect Tacotarian to open sometime in early August.
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Diana Edelman is the founder of Vegans, Baby. She previously lived and worked in Thailand where she spent years working for an elephant sanctuary and has traveled around the world speaking about the realities of elephant tourism. She is a public speaker who has appeared at SEED Food + Wine, VegFest Puerto Rico, VegFest Toronto and more, a journalist and entrepreneur. Diana is also behind the Vegas Vegan Dinners at James Beard Foundation’s James Beard House.