Trains aren’t the only things that are delayed near the Granville Red Line Stop.
Flaco’s Tacos, the South Loop’s home-styled taqueria, pushed back the debut of its new location at the Granville Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) station from this fall to next spring. Planned revisions for the restaurant have significantly slowed down the process, according to Flaco’s Tacos co-owner Edmund Hebson.
“Any build-out plans for CTA locations have to have both CTA and [City of Chicago’s] approval,” said Hebson in an email to The Phoenix.
The taqueria is set to fill the two open spaces across from the main station. A 10-year lease was approved by the Chicago Transit Board in November of last year.
Though a city ordinance states that the space is still rented under Flaco’s Tacos, there has been little construction in the past year. The storefront is currently occupied by art displays and advertisements.
Granville will be the restaurant’s third location, with two other locations near the Chicago and Harrison Red Line stops.
The opening of the Mexican-themed eatery comes after the $86 million renovation of some of the Red Line’s oldest stations: Jarvis, Morse, Granville, Berwyn, Argyle, Thorndale and Lawrence. This project included general maintenance and improvement to the quality of the station, according to a press release by the CTA. Construction was completed in December 2012.
Since then, the CTA has taken steps to fill vacant spaces available along its subway stations. Of the six lines, the Red Line has the most vacancies, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, the firm that manages the locations.
Flaco’s Tacos is well known by students for its location by Loyola’s Water Tower Campus. Flaco’s offers self-declared homemade Mexican cuisine, including specialties such as fish tacos, poblano and Chihuahua-cheese quesadillas and al pastor (spit-roasted pork) tortas. An entree at Flaco’s can range anywhere from $5 to $10.
The restaurant is also well known for its Weekly Special deals on various alcoholic drinks, which include $3 Margarita Mondays, Thirsty Thursday with $3 rum and horchata and $4 Sangria Saturdays. Hebson said plans are in place to apply for a liquor license and the CTA has already approved liquor being sold on it’s property.
With a location already near Loyola’s Water Tower Campus, Hebson said the restaurant staff are all certified under Illinois’ Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training and trained to spot fakes. Additionally, Flaco’s Tacos has a policy to card all patrons regardless of age.
“Margaritas, sangria and beer are key components to our establishments” he said. “Sometimes students don’t like that we ‘Card Hard’ (a valid ID must be presented for each drink ordered), but we know it’s our job to serve alcohol responsibly. We don’t want to jeopardize the business.”
Hebson also said that while Rambler Bucks will be accepted at the Granville location, they cannot be used to purchase alcohol.
In addition to the restaurant’s normal menu, it will offer a “sister-concept” ice cream shop that crosses seating with the taqueria part of the restaurant.
Flaco’s Tacos’ other locations have offered ice creams with Mexican-style flavors such as chile and avocado, according to DNAinfo Chicago.
The taqueria has already made a positive impression on many students. Senior human services major Catherine Wanandi said that Flaco’s Tacos earns its reputation, specifically with its Cowboy Taco. The Cowboy Taco is described as “lime-grilled steak, roasted corn, Chihuahua cheese, caramelized onions, topped with guacamole and wrapped in a double corn tortilla,” on Flaco’s Tacos’ menu.
“It’s one of their specialities,” she said. “I can pound two of those in one sitting. Their tacos are the perfect size.”
Sophomore elementary education major Julia Treichal, 19, is especially excited to have the taqueria near the Lake Shore Campus.
“A lot of people go to [Flaco’s Tacos], but it’s downtown, and that can be a little inconvenient,” she said. “It’ll be fun to have it closer to campus.”