Paco’s Tacos & Tequila is one of Frank Scibelli’s four major restaurants in Charlotte, along with my beloved Mama Ricotta’s, Midwood Smokehouse, and Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. Paco’s (Spanish for Frank’s, get it?) features Tex-Mex cuisine with a large chunk of the menu dedicated to TACOS. There are ten types to choose from, including brisket, calamari, chicken fried steak, crispy shrimp, gringo beef, and whitefish. The flour and wheat tortillas are made in-house (or you can opt for low carb or corn tortillas), and you can add a stuffed jalapeno to your taco for a buck fifty. Fajitas, enchiladas, and quesadillas also make an appearance on the menu, as well as a handful of Tex-Mex inspired entrees, and over eighty-five tequilas. Taking a cue (as in barbecue) from its sister restaurant Midwood Smokehouse, Paco’s recently added a smoker to their kitchen artillery. Currently, the pitmaster will smoke one featured entrée each night. On my last visit, I tried the smoked brisket taco, and as the Midwood Smokehouse self-declared number one fan, I feel confident giving Paco’s smoked brisket the Fervent Foodie stamp of approval. It is my favorite Paco’s Taco to date. Other menu favorites include the chopped salad with cojita cheese and chipotle ranch, gringo nachos, potato mushroom & cheese flautas, and “The Margarita with No Name,” featuring El Jimador Blanco, 100% blue agave tequila, and house made sour. Of course, you can’t go wrong with any of the tacos. Paco’s also makes the desserts in-house, and I strongly recommend both the Tres Leches and Chocolate PB Pie.
Local Loaf: Located uptown in the 7th Street Public Market, Local Loaf is the new home to Chef Adam Spears (previously with Heist Brewery). Local Loaf offers freshly baked Artisan Breads daily, including their hand-rolled baguettes, brioche, ciabatta, fruit and nut loaves, 9 grain, and biscuits. In addition to the bread, Local Loaf also offers breakfast and lunch. The “brunchwiches” are served all day, and include a fried chicken and poached egg biscuit with chipotle Cheerwine glaze, a steak and egg baguette, and a monte cristo served on a brioche liege waffle. The lunch menu includes eight sandwiches. My favorites so far are the ham and brie (topped with local Lucky Leaf microgreens and mango chutney) and the Local Dip (think French dip with red wine braised sirloin and caramelized onions). Other enticing options are the Veggie with creamed corn and fried green tomatoes on jalapeno focaccia and the Cuban with pickled cucumbers and fried pork rinds. Soup options will change daily, but keep an eye out for the tomato bisque–it is AWESOME. If the tasty sandwiches aren’t enough to make you love Local Loaf, the heavy emphasis on local sourcing will surely tug on those ole’ heartstrings. Locally sourced goods include meat from Meat & Fish Co., produce and dairy from Homeland Dairy Farms and Greeneman Farms, and coffee grounds from Not Just Coffee.