Taqueria Jalisco to add site at Miller Plaza in Chattanooga

Taqueria Jalisco to add site at Miller Plaza in Chattanooga

February 28th, 2014 by Alex Green in Business Around the Region

Maria Parra prepares chicken and steak tacos at Taqueria Jalisco at another location in this 2011 file photo.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

The corner spot in Miller Plaza that has been vacant since Bleacher Bums moved last year to a new location (and changed its name to J's Deli) is getting a new tenant.

Taqueria Jalisco is set to open by the end of March or early April.

"It's a great fit for that space," said River City Co. communication specialist Amy Donahue.

Taqueria Jalisco -- which translates as taco shop of Jalisco, a state in Mexico -- has a location on Rossville Avenue in Chattanooga's Southside area. The restaurant opened about two-and-a-half years ago, born out of the food truck venture Jorge Parra and his mother, Maria, used to operate at the Chattanooga Market.

Parra said he didn't imagine when Taqueria Jalisco opened a brick-and-mortar location that it would someday need to open a secondary storefront because of demand.

Rather than move the entire operation into a larger venue, Parra said the goal was to preserve the "hole-in-the-wall" feel of the Rossville Avenue site.

"We actually wanted to keep the intimate feel of it, the welcoming factor of it," he said.

Parra said his mother, Maria, is the "genius behind our food" and will head up the new Miller Plaza location. He will continue to operate the Rossville Avenue store.

Parra said the restaurant has enjoyed success because of its authenticity, food with a regional flair unique to Jalisco. In Mexico, foods vary region to region. Taqueria Jalisco's tortas -- or Mexican sandwiches -- in particular boast a very Jalisco personality, said Parra.

The Miller Plaza site will call for the addition of five employees, on top of the five employees working at the Rossville Avenue Taqueria Jalisco.

Donahue said River City was happy with the quick turnaround on the Miller Plaza space, a spot she called "attractive" to businesses looking to move into downtown.

"We think there are good tenants there in Miller Plaza," she said.

Not to mention, the spot sees a good lunchtime crowd.

With spring around the corner, Donahue thinks Taqueria Jalisco will enjoy the benefit of folks wanting to be out in the sunshine and in the warmer weather -- a perk she said Miller Plaza offers.

"It's a good time to open and get the restaurant going there," she said.

Taqueria Jalisco at Miller Plaza will offer a similar menu to its Southside spot. The restaurant will be open for lunch and on select nights, particularly when the Nightfall Concert Series starts up in May.

Contact staff writer Alex Green at agreen@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480.