Photo:  Torchy’s was started by Mike Rypka in Austin, Texas. Each restaurant has a unique design.

Torchy’s Tacos to make KC debut at Ward Parkway

By Jill Draper

A taco restaurant that has become a Texas favorite will open in south Kansas City next spring. Torchy’s Tacos will take over the Ward Parkway Center space previously occupied by MidiCi the Neapolitan Pizza Co., which closed in June.

Torchy’s began in 2006 in Austin, operating out of an old barbecue trailer. Since then the restaurant has spread throughout Texas and has entered the market in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Colorado. Described as “upscale in a Shake Shack kind of way” and “in a league of their own,” Torchy’s aims to elevate the traditional street taco with unique flavor combinations.

 Breakfast tacos feature various combinations of eggs, green chiles, tomatillos, bacon, cheese, avocado and potatoes. Selections on the menu category called “Damn Good Tacos” have names such as Tipsy Chick (with marinated and grilled chicken breast), Brushfire (with Jamaican jerk chicken), Trailer Park (with fried chicken), Democrat (with barbacoa), Republican (with grilled jalapeno sausage) and Independent (with fried portobello mushrooms and black beans). There are also hefty burritos, salads and grilled street corn. Especially popular in Torchy’s home state is green chile queso, a melted cheese dip topped off with a dab of guacamole, cotija cheese, cilantro and diablo sauce, and served with homemade tortilla chips.

 According to Dave Claflin, director of marketing for the shopping center’s South End Restaurant Pavilion, the city has issued construction permits for MidiCi’s former 3,500-square-foot space at 8815 State Line Road, and remodeling for Torchy’s has begun. He said the biggest step—the removal of a massive stone pizza oven that weighed several tons, already has been accomplished. 

“It was a significant undertaking,” Claflin said. “The salvage people were concerned about not breaking the concrete patio.” He added that Torchy’s will have a full bar, and the original counter will stay.

Torchy’s will be located between Smitty’s Garage and Charleston’s. Plans are being discussed for two remaining spaces at the north end of the pavilion, but there are no definite tenants. Claflin said he had businesses lined up in the past, but the contracts fell through. He hopes to announce additional restaurants in the coming year.

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