The recently opened 14th Street Tacos may be located inside Bullwinkles Bar, the Oread Neighborhood watering hole popular with college students, but owners Brad Jarvis and Matt Pospiech say their taco stand is anything but typical bar fare.
The longtime friends and recent Kansas University grads have been slinging their “gourmet” tacos out of Bullwinkles’ rear corner for about two weeks now.
Business has been pretty good so far, they say, and soon, the pair hope to expand 14th Street Tacos, located near the intersection of 14th and Tennessee streets, with a walk-up window. Once the city approves it, the window, which Jarvis and Pospiech say will tentatively sell coffee at some point, should appear later this month.
“People look at it as bar food,” says Jarvis, who graduated with a business degree from KU in July and handles the logistics of the taco stand. “But even though we’re in a bar, you’re still getting quality tacos.”
Ever the millennials, the friends say the goal is to get folks Instagramming their colorful, made-from-scratch tacos.
Right now, the stand’s taco options include poached chicken breast with mango-cucumber salsa and chipotle mayonnaise; braised beef with spicy pickled onions and queso fresco; homemade chorizo with tomatillo-orange salsa; and for the vegetarians, portobello mushrooms sautéed with roasted Poblano and Anaheim peppers.
They’re also working on tacos with pork tinga (a sort of Mexican barbecue, Pospiech says) for next week.
All tacos, they note, are made with gluten-free corn tortillas.
“I wanted people to be taking pictures of our tacos to show their friends,” who studied creative writing at KU and manages food production at 14th Street Tacos. “Nothing looks prettier than mangoes and cucumbers and pickled onions.”
Pospiech, whose father has owned restaurants in the Chicago area for more than 30 years, grew up in the food industry. Jarvis, similarly, comes from a family of business owners. So, when given the chance to open their own taco stand earlier this summer, the pals jumped on the opportunity.
They’re still learning as they go, with Pospiech preparing the tacos out of rented commercial kitchens around Lawrence and transferring the food to the bar. Ultimately, the pair says they’d like to find their own kitchen.
Plans to expand the menu — maybe burritos or tostadas, says Pospiech, who adds that nachos will probably be the first to arrive — are also underway.
As of now, hours are 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, though Jarvis says he may open the stand closer to 2 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays to accommodate weekend activities such as KU games. He says customers can check 14th Street Tacos’ Twitter for updates.
“It all happened so quickly. We had three weeks to open a restaurant,” says Pospiech, whose parents are making the trip down from Chicago in a few weeks to visit the stand. “There’s going to be a lot of stuff down the road.”