James Beard Award nominated Taqueria del Sol (TDS), a twelve-year old fast-casual successful restaurant and franchise brand that features a winning combination of a simple menu with eclectic and flavorful dishes, announces plans to open its very first franchise location outside of the company-owned stores, all located in Georgia, in Orlando, Fla. on Oct. 1, 2012 just south of downtown. Franchise owners Brandon and Charlie Bengel of BRMGRP, LLC plan to open approximately 11Taqueria del Sol’s over the next several years in Central and South Florida and currently own and operate 17 Five Guys locations in Central Florida.
While the menu is driven by southwestern cuisine, many of the dishes feature cross-cultural flair with the spice of Mexican, the boldness of southwestern and the comfort of southern cuisines.
(All tacos served in soft flour tortillas)
Taqueria del Sol also keeps fans returning with the rotation of weekly blue plate, seafood and taco specials. Popular specials include the Shrimp & Grits (sautéed shrimp with Eddie’s jalapeño-tomato salsa and creamy grits), Cheeseburger Taco (a mixture of ground beef, spices and jalapeños, served with cheese dip, lime jalapeño mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato in a flour tortilla), Bob Taco (fried shrimp with crayfish mayonnaise, lettuce and pickled jalapeños in a flour tortilla), Buttermilk Fried Chicken and the Crispy Chile Relleno (two New Mexico green chiles stuffed with cheese, breaded, crispy fried and served with salsa frita, white rice and refried beans), an annual special that runs for a limited time each summer when the restaurant receives its shipment of freshly-harvested green chiles from Hatch, New Mexico.
Unique to the fast casual arena, Taqueria del Sol has a full bar in each location for the perfect drink to complete any meal. In addition to a distinctive selection of bottled beers, Taqueria del Sol boasts an expansive tequila list, specialty margaritas and a “build-your-own margarita” option.
The effort to create such an inventive and approachable restaurant has not gone unnoticed. Atlanta Journal-Constitution stated, “the fish tacos are as addictive as the Memphis pork barbecue tacos, and the red sauce over an enchilada will put you in chile heaven.” Frommer’s describes Taqueria del Sol as “what fast food ought to be – quick and good, not to mention affordable.” Garden & Gun listed the turnip greens as one of the “100 Southern Foods You Absolutely, Positively Must Try Before You Die,” and notable southern food writer, John T. Edge, describes the dish, saying “the result violates all the rules and, in turn, sets a new standard.” Furthermore, founder Mike Klank and chef Hernandez have been nominated twice for the James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence for Outstanding Restaurateur 2011 and 2012.
Taqueria del Sol is located at 3138 South Orange Ave., Orlando, Fla. 32806 and will be open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Visit the restaurant online at Orlando’s Facebook and Twitterpages and to contact the Orlando restaurant directly, call 407-412-5952. Stay informed on weekly specials and news for TDS Orlando by signing up for the email blast at http://tinyurl.com/
Interview with Brandon Bengel
TDS Orlando Franchise Owner
Tasty Chomps: What inspired you to bring TAQUERIA DEL SOL to Orlando?
Brandon Bengel: The food quality and presentation for the price is simply out of this world. I think people will be amazed by how delicious the food is. Orlando has never experienced a restaurant like this!
TC: How did you get started in owning Five Guys franchisees?
BB: The second Five Guys store to ever open was right down the street from my dad’s house when I was a kid. When Five Guys began franchising, it was a natural fit for us. We now have 17 locations across Central Florida.
TC: Were there obstacles and challenges faced?
BB: Premium real estate locations are always hard to come by. We spend a lot of time trying to find ideal locations.
TC: What would your advice for success in the business world?
BB: Surround yourself with great people. We are fortunate to have amazing, talented and hard working employees on our team. We also make a regular effort to show our employees how much we appreciate them.
TC: What is your fave item from Taqueria del Sol?
BB: It’s hard to choose just one favorite! The menu is constantly changing too due to the fantastic weekly specials. If I had to choose a favorite taco, I’d have to go with the Memphis taco. It has a wonderful tequila BBQ sauce. I really love the shrimp corn chowder too.
TC: What are your hobbies outside of restaurant owning?
BB: I enjoy spending time with my wife and two young kids. They keep me busy!
TC: Any future plans for other franchises?
BB: Not at the present time. We have our hands full right now—and are loving every minute of it.