Sat, June 22, 2024

Best of Business Lunch Review: Tacocat

Editor’s Note:
Wes Hennings never met a meal he walked away from and is an opinionated eater! Each Thursday he shares the results of a business lunch he’s had with a colleague as a way to advise our business community on the good, bad, and tasty across the CSRA. He doesn’t let ABD or the restaurant know where he is going and his opinions are his own. He grades the restaurants he visits on a 1-5 scale with “5” being outstanding. We call this our “Real Business Lunch Review”.

Food Quality: 5
Service: 5
Business Meeting: 5
Value: 5

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

For years in downtown Augusta, there was a full-service carwash, with garage doors and everything, nestled in the restaurant district just off Broad Street. I was pleasantly surprised one day when I saw it was being converted into a restaurant, and even happier when I saw the word ‘taco’ on the sign.

But my true delight was on my first visit to one of Augusta’s newest and hippest spots, as Tacocat may be my new favorite place to dine downtown.

I think the first thing you notice is just how well done the decor and the branding are. If I didn’t know better, I would assume that this was a chain from Atlanta or another big city import. But Tacocat is another feather in the cap of the Frog Hollow hospitality group, proprietors of Farmhaus and, of course, Frog Hollow.

We were promptly greeted and seated as we arrived a little before noon. But by the actual lunch hour, this wonderfully converted space was full of downtown foodies, mostly professionals in polos and button-ups, making this a perfect spot for a business lunch, even if the music may be a notch or two too loud.

You feel like you’ve stepped back into the ‘80’s upon sitting down, as there are the warm rust colors that almost clash and chairs that look like you may have had breakfast in while you watched the Smurfs on Saturday morning. Plus, old game shows play on a loop on the television.

You can also tell how the space easily becomes a trendy bar after hours, with plenty of space to roam and sit, and I assume the garage doors still open to the street, meaning it could be a wonderful indoor/outdoor space on the two or three evenings a year, where the weather is nice in Augusta.

But wait! What about the food?

Tacos are tricky. You can get them almost anywhere, from the stomach bombs at Taco Bell to the more elevated palette pleasers. These are way on the better end of the spectrum. From the first bite, my dining companion and I knew we’d found a new favorite. He had the Americano and the Tangy chicken. I opted for the Carne Asada and Crispy Fish.

I almost always try a fish taco when they are on the menu, and I am almost always disappointed. Not today, Satan! The breading on the flaky fish had the perfect crunch and the slaw complemented it perfectly, even if a little heavily dished on for my liking.

And of course, the steak was well-cooked, but the surprise of that taco was the fried kale. A superfood with a crunch? Yes, please!

We also had an order of the queso to start, and the crispy chips would have been delicious enough on their own, but the white cheese dip was also likely the best I’ve had in our fair city, and I’ve eaten my weight in cheese dip across the two-state area.

You probably get the point by now and realize why Tacocat has received my coveted perfect score.

Service was quick and pleasant, even if our server was also the bartender and stretched a bit thin. There are cards you can place on the centerpiece if you need anything, but we were usually greeted before it was necessary to try to get their attention.

The value would be the place where they could have lost a mark, but there’s a lunch special with two tacos, chips and salsa, and a drink for $12. For the quality of lunch, you get at that price, the value is packed in. If you venture away from that, your wallet may get a bit lighter.

Tacocat is exactly what I never knew I needed downtown. If you haven’t been yet, make today your first visit. It won’t be your last.

990 Broad Street

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