I went up to Nashville a couple of weeks ago to visit friends. Usually I make the rounds to all my favorite restaurants I’ve been missing, but this time I felt like trying something new and different. Enter Local Taco, a casual, cool, eclectic eatery combining Tex-Mex and Southern flavors. It’s committed to using local ingredients when possible: local or organic produce and chicken, farm-fresh eggs, locally-made tortillas, etc. And the Brentwood location is right down the street from my favorite TJ Maxx, perfect for a quick lunch while shopping or running errands in the Maryland Farms area.
I liked the menu immediately because it featured beans and several veggies prominently, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free entrees. It’s quirky and inventive too. For example, I spotted shrimp and 3 chili enchiladas served with pumpkin seed pesto, and Korean BBQ-style beef tacos topped with Asian slaw.
At lunchtime Local Taco focuses on salads, quesadillas, tacos, and enchiladas, while their dinner menu expands the salad offerings and adds smoked meat platters, a couple of appetizers, and fajitas. There’s also a Sunday brunch, serving cage-free egg dishes, grits, hash, sangria, mimosas, and bloody marys. (Yes, I did just have to look up how to pluralize bloody marys.)
The atmosphere seems perfect for just about any casual outing you’d like: a quick lunch-hour, a longer meal gabbing with friends, an after-work cocktail, hanging out on the large patio, or watching sports in the bar. The tables and booths are wooden and it looked like the floor-to-ceiling windows roll up garage door-style when the weather is nice. You order at the register, take a table number, and servers deliver the food to you. It definitely strikes a hip, lively, laid-back vibe.
My friend and I split a side of black beans, the mushroom and spinach enchilada with lemon crema sauce, and the marinated portabello tacos with sage goat cheese, zucchini slaw, tomatoes, and fried onions. All were okay, but nothing really to write home about. The tortillas were soft and I liked the additions of the zucchini and fried onions, but the black beans were spicy and oddly-flavored and none of the taste combinations wowed me. I didn’t even finish my half of the beans (Me? Not finish beans?!) despite the fact that I was hungry and about to set out on the 4-hour drive home.
However, I did enjoy the focus on local and organic items, unique flavor combinations, quick lunchtime service, and casual setting. I wouldn’t hesitate to return to Local Taco for drinks with friends or to try something different, like the monster veggie fajitas, queso cauliflower, tabasco-roasted agave beets, or beet salad with friend sunflower seeds and ginger goat cheese (all on the dinner menu).
One piece of advice if you are going to the Brentwood location- it was tricky for me to figure out where to turn, because Local Taco is tucked in between a few parking lots. (Cool location, just tricky the first time you go.) I think the way we finally navigated it out was turning onto Church Street from Franklin Road, then turning left into the driveway right before Judge Bean’s BBQ. You’ll see Local Taco in front of you there, back and to the left, and you can fishtail through the parking lot to reach it. Looked like there was also valet parking for it or some of the shops nearby.