Picture this: You’re hanging with friends before ArtWalk, snacking on tacos with scratch-made tortillas. Somewhere in the kitchen, pork is spinning on a vertical grill, glazing itself with pineapple juice. You’re lounging in a hidden, green outdoor oasis with cold tequila cocktails and a breeze in the air. Are you at Guero’s in Austin? No, you’re in Downtown Lafayette!
This vision will soon become a reality in early July with the opening of Tula Tacos and Amigos, a new concept dreamed up by the same team behind Central Pizza: John Petersen (Swamp Pop Soda), Mike Delcambre (Green Room), Collin Cormier (Pop’s Poboys), and Gus Rezende and BJ Crist (Social Entertainment). The Tula concept is simple: street tacos and refreshing margaritas served in a Jefferson Street oasis.
Disclosure: Gus Rezende serves on The Current’s board of directors.
“The culinary concept hinges on simple, amazing ingredients and a fresh take on traditional street tacos,” says Petersen. ”We'll be making all of our tortillas in-house, including grinding our own corn and offering a mix of traditional flavors with unique interpretations.” Petersen says the crispy fish tacos and the al pastor tacos are great examples. “The al pastor is done on a spit in the traditional style,” says Petersen.
No taco joint would be complete without a tequila selection, and Tula is stepping it up a notch with a fresh twist on the frozen margarita, making the icy delight with a sorbet of fresh fruit. They’ll be serving a few cocktails “amigos style,” meaning they are meant to be shared with friends. “First is the 32-ounce caguamas of Mexican beer served with small, 7-ounce glasses for the table. We’ll also be serving a Mexican martini meant for the table,” he says. The martini comes with a polaroid photo of the table sharing the beverage.
Tula’s real ace in the hole is the underutilized, hidden outdoor patio that comes with the space at 427 Jefferson Street, formerly Phillyana. Tucked behind the storefront is a shady backyard perfect for tacos al fresco. “We knew the building had a unique outdoor courtyard in the back,” says Petersen. “We saw an opportunity to create an oasis in the center of Downtown. When we thought about the kind of food we'd want in that oasis, tacos and margaritas felt right.” Collin Cormier, known for Pop’s Poboys and Viva La Waffle, was already thinking about a spin on street tacos, so it came together naturally.
Tula leans hard into its lounge aesthetic, painting on a cantina identity that’s more about charm than authentic Mexican fare. Petersen says plans are to keep the space flexible for events, but the focus will remain on the food, drinks and atmosphere: “We're really working hard to create a balance between what people in taco-centric towns like Austin and L.A. have come to expect (quick, delicious street tacos) with an atmosphere that is also conducive to relaxing and staying a while.”
For more info, visit www.tulatacos.com