Kevin Grant loves tacos for their broad appeal. When he imagines his customers, he thinks about a family of five, or a pair of 15-year-olds on their first date, or a group of 10 celebrating someone's birthday with margaritas.
He hopes Zia Taqueria, which opened Friday, March 1, on Haywood Road, will host all of these diners. The restaurant offers a range of regional Mexican dishes, Tex-Mex favorites and a la carte tacos, as well as a full bar, in the former Dolores and Jose location.
The building has gotten major upgrades, but it still looks like a Mexican restaurant with its beige stucco exterior. The same concept applies to the menu; the standard Mexican restaurant fare is all there, tacos, tortas and enchiladas, but it's streamlined. “It's not your usual five-page menu in choosing combination platters,” Grant says. “We've narrowed it down and made it more concise. That way, we can put more love and energy into making everything.”
It's a menu that Grant knows well. He owns another location of Zia Taqueria in Charleston. (He co-owns the Asheville eatery.) The menu at both stores is the same. Grant recommends the barbacoa nachos, which come with with jalapeño relish, guacamole and crema, or the portobello mushroom tacos with avocado and black beans.
Other menu highlights include entree-sized salads, tacos al pastor (with the pineapple that style implies) and an array of margaritas from house-made sour mix, a mixture of fresh-squeezed lemon, lime and orange juices.
The restaurant combines counter service and table service, so while diners will stand in line and order at the bar, they won't have to get up to refill their drinks. It seats about 70 people inside and 40 on the patio, and it can accommodate large groups.
Zia Taqueria, 521 Haywood Road, opens Friday, March 1 at 11 a.m. Its hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday. Thursday through Saturday, it serves a late-night menu from 10 p.m. until midnight, and the bar stays open 'till. For more information, call 575-9393 or visit ziataco.com