Feb 7, 2023 - Food and Drink

Richmond restaurant soft opening: Torchy's Tacos in Carytown

The Brushfire and the Trailer Park at Torchy's. Photo: Ned Oliver/Axios

Ned here, once again eating food.

What’s happening: Torchy’s Tacos, an Austin-based chain, just opened its first two Richmond locations in Short Pump and Carytown.

  • The openings drew lines out the door and included an appearance by the chain’s mascot — a creepy-looking devil wearing a diaper whom I am trying very hard not to let influence my opinion of the food.

I checked out the Carytown location last week for lunch.

  • Of the three tacos I tried, my favorite was the Trailer Park ($5.65), which comes with fried chicken, green chiles, pico, cheese and a poblano sauce on a flour tortilla. The chicken was crispy, and my server did not steer me wrong when he upsold me with a queso add-on.
  • The Brushfire ($5.20) — jerk chicken, jalapeños, mango and sour cream — was pretty basic but had a nice grilled flavor.
  • The only real let down was the Democrat ($5.90), a barbacoa taco that came out as a minced, gelatinous mess.

Worth noting: The fresh churros ($5.45) were the best part of my meal.

  • I got an order to go, and they came out hot and crispy but still just a little gooey inside.

Reality check: I asked my colleague Asher Price at Axios Austin for a read on the chain’s reputation in its hometown.

  • “Torchy's has become immensely popular, in ways that have earned it some scorn from Austin connoisseurs of traditional taco trucks,” he writes. “But the tacos they sling are undeniably yummy — we like the baja shrimp and the green chile pork — and totally filling.”

The bottom line: Give Torchy’s a shot, and definitely let them upsell you on their delicious queso.

  • But don’t forget about all the great homegrown options. Soul Taco downtown comes to mind as checking a lot of the same nontraditional boxes, but with more creativity and no creepy devil mascots.
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