Tacoland Sets Wednesday, Feb. 19 Soft Opening




Former Taco Land owner Ram Ayala.

Huge news, gente. Legendary music venue/dive bar Tacoland (103 W. Grayson) is finally re-opening. The bar will open its doors Wednesday, February 19 at 5 p.m. Jason Dady's DUK Truck will come out of its winter hibernation to sling its famous eats along with Umai Mi fare (tacos have gotten a heck of a lot fancier since the bar's closing).

Chris Erck, of the Worm Tequila & Mezcal bar and Swig Martini Bar says the full-service bar will feature 36 beers on draft, 99 bottles of beer and a collection of signature cocktails, which draws inspiration from the SA River and surrounding trees.

"This is a very soft opening of phase one... We're trying to ease into it," Erck said. Other phases include adding a stacked shipping container kitchen.

The opening was held up twice before. Once in 2012 when "Historic Design Review Commission’s then-District 8 Commissioner Norman Barrera wanted to make sure the developers removed the tagging (not the graffiti art) from the property." And in 2013, "two 'citizens to be heard' (Martin Kushner and Lee Joffe) spoke up against Tacoland’s proposed addition to the building: a second-level cedar deck over the flat roof, an elevated deck surrounding the patio’s heritage oak tree, and the installation of a new, two-story structure on the northwest corner of the property composed of shipping containers" as reported by the Current.

Of course, this re-imagined Tacoland (one word), will be different from its predecessor owned by the late Ram Ayala. Taco Land closed after Ayala and doorman Douglas Morgan were shot to death on June 23, 2005. Waitress and bartender Denise Koger was shot through her kidney and lower intestines, but survived after 10 days in the hospital.

"We'll be playing music of our times," Erck said of the amplified acoustic he hopes to bring in to the bar and not the punk staples the bar was known for. He hopes to draw in emerging talent, much like Taco Land did previously, without pigeonholing a genre.

"People have great expectations of it being the old Taco Land, but it's not the same, it cannot be the same," Erck said. "The DNA is there and we're trying to respect that history as we continue the legacy."

The article was updated to include Denise Koger and the injuries sustained.

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