Chivo Taqueria Opens July 7 at 314 S. Gay Street

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Elements of the same team that brought you Stock and Barrel on Market Square will deliver top-line tacos and tequila starting Thursday. Chef Niko Angelos is joined by brothers Dino and Bill and partner Ben Austin. What you’ll find is a high-end product at a very modest price in a cool, casual atmosphere. What has been a dead section of Gay Street after dark should be hopping into the night.

To say the journey has been a difficult march to opening day for Chivo Taqueria is to undersell just how long this has been coming. Last October when I wrote the first article about the project, the space had been leased for a year and the group hoped to open in December. Recently they joked about calling the new restaurant “Dos Anos,” for the nearly two years it has taken to make it happen. In the months since that first article, construction delays necessitated changing construction companies and the group also decided to change the name, given the negative reaction to the first name they selected. The focus, they felt, should be on the food.

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

And the food has been given great thought. The brothers and Ben have long relationships with area farmers and that will form the basis of their supply chain. Local hogs fed local grains and raised by Bill Loy in New Market, Tennessee and slaughtered in Greeneville by Harris Country Meat are delivered directly to the restaurant. The beef, lamb and goat are also sourced locally or as nearby as possible. Vegetables will be sourced locally when they are in season. John at Mitchell Family Farm provides the beef. Lambs are purchased in Morristown and slaughtered in Greenville. Riverplains Farm are also partners.

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

You can view the menu exclusively here for the moment, but it should soon be available on the web page. It is a simple, basic menu to start, but as they have done at Stock and Barrel, specials will be offered and a number of those will eventually be added to the regular menu. Starters include house-made guacamole, house-made salsa, house-made chips and hot wings. Initial taco offerings include brisket, mahi mahi, carnitas, duck and lamb. Chicken, shrimp, street corn and a few other items offer some variety and churros and flan are offered for dessert.

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

The flour for the tortillas is ground in-house on a Lenin machine and is generated from  a mixture of heirloom, non-GMO local and Mexican corn from Masienda, all of which is traceable to the farm from which it is purchased. The group is committed to organic, non-gmo and gluten-free products. Using a wet-masa process, the corn is cooked in lime and ground wet to make a wet masa. The machine they will use for making the tortillas is able to produce 700 per hour.

Menu, Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Menu, Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Menu, Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Menu, Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

The dishes, including the tacos are sold a la carte and they hope you’ll mix and match and try a range of foods. Tacos and most of the dishes run around $4. Several of the options are vegetarian and can easily be made vegan upon request, with the removal of cheese.

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

The tequila is also a star and you’ll find tequila for the connoisseur as well as for the novice wanting to learn. Espolon is the house tequila and you’ll find pours of that and other tequilas ranging from $6 to $50. Over 120 different premium tequilas are offered and all are 100% agave. In addition, you’ll find eighteen different mescals and a strong scotch and rye selection. Ten taps serving craft beer will be operational  and the wine selection will include seven whites, seven reds and four reserve wines. Similar to the bourbon concept at Stock and Barrel, flights will be offered to experience a range of the beverage and specialty cocktails focused on both tequila and mescal will also be available.

Pork Belly Tacos with Rice, Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Pork Belly Tacos with Rice, Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016 (Photo Courtesy of Justin Paulk)

Duck Fat Soaked Potatoes with Poblano, Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Duck Fat Soaked Potatoes with Poblano, Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016 (Photo Courtesy of Justin Paulk)

Hot Wings, Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Hot Wings, Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016 (Photo Courtesy of Justin Paulk)

I think you’ll enjoy the space, as well. The lighting is funky and beautiful and the art is fun. The bar was poured by Justin Paulk of Paulk and Company, who is also responsible for the creches in the rear and the sign on the front. The exposed wood, including a beautiful floor, the rough walls and simple furnishings – as well as the golden bicycle situated above the door give a funky vibe that I think will be very appealing.

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

Chivo Taqueria, 314 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2016

You’ll be able to make reservations online via the Nowait App. And with seating for 120 (about twice Stock and Barrel), getting inside should be a bit easier than is the case at the other restaurant. They are confident they will be able to accommodate large parties. Hours start at 10:00 AM each day (according to the owner I contacted – the website says 11:00 AM, so check) and end at 10:00 PM each night except Friday and Saturday night when they will be open until 11:00 PM. Stop in and have a taco and between now and then, give them a “like” on the Chivo Taqueria Facebook Page.

Comments

  1. I’ve eaten twice already and it’s just fantastic. Our little stretch of Gay Street is booming! Next step: J’s Mega Mart! Someone get on that!

  2. The No Wait app says they don’t accept it – so – does any one know – do they or don’t they? It would be really nice for all of the downtown restaurants to realize if you live down here it just doesn’t make sense not to be able to check in and put your name in line! If you live two blocks away – why stand in front of the restaurant for 45 minutes?

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      My guess is they don’t have it set up, yet. Today is their first day, so everything may not be done. You might drop in once and ask them.

  3. It is often better to approach with caution and thoughtfulness rather than plow into a project. I wish them well, but I don’t think they need the kind thoughts.

  4. Ummmm, does this opening portend resolution of the problems with the developers Henry & Wallace discussed in the May 10 Inside of Knoxville blogpost? Specifically, is work on the upstairs condos in the Century Building also now back on track?
    On another subject, I’m super glad the owners decided to change the name — it shows they listened to the criticism and, regardless of validity of the owners’ original intent or those critical comments,
    they offloaded that unnecessary baggage. Cheers, guys, and best of luck with this new endeavor! I can’t wait to come on by.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      I wouldn’t assume anything about the owners of this building or the building itself beyond the facts of this story.

  5. Looks great from the photos, and the menu seems very reasonable. Can’t wait to see how it develops. As I have a weakness for tequila and tacos, I may just buy a permanent spot at that beautiful bar.

  6. Don’t forget that the virgulilla over the n in “dos años” is super important.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      I totally did not forget, but despite searching for instructions and attempting repeatedly to follow them, I was unable to make it appear.

      • I always thought a virgulilla was a virgin margarita. Two Shirley Temples and a virgulilla for the kids, please.

      • Try copying and pasting one from somewhere else on the Internet.

      • In your word processing program, it’s “ctrl” + “~” at the same time, then hit “n”. You can copy and paste from there. Or, you can just copy and paste the one I typed here. In any case, I just find it funny. I’m demented, LOL.

      • Jared S. says

        If you’ve got a Mac, hold down the n key and the accent menu should come up. It’s the only way I’m getting through college Spanish.

        Like this: ñ.

  7. I’m not seeing any goat on that menu, unless the “chivo wings” are actually goat which would be a real trick. Maybe they should draw wings on their goat mascot.

  8. While school is in this should do very very well. The ticket is to keep the food prices low and twenty steps above fast food. Though, the real money is outsourcing those chips to local markets. Gotta pay that rent.

  9. Leticia Flores says

    The interior looks beautiful! So do the tacos. I hope their margaritas are home made (not from a sweet & sour mix)…

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