DALLAS -- Ali Sharaf, Jim Baron and David Pencsak are rolling out Go Loco, a new taco fast-casual chain franchise concept. Ali Sharaf is president of Victron Energy, with more than 180 travel centers throughout Texas. Jim Baron is president of Blue Mesa Grill Restaurants, with locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and David Pencsak is an owner of TNT/Tacos and Tequila in Austin, Texas, and Ruby Tequilas' Mexican Kitchen.
The first location, which opened in Alvarado, Texas, in April, is one of several to be managed by Bob Hauser, one of the co-founders of Qdoba Mexican Grill.
It opened its second location in Grand Prairie, Texas, in early August. The owners plan to have five Go Locos in Texas by year's end and 25 by next year, according to a report by Pegasus News. The ultimate goal is 150 sites, with each location near major highways to cater to travelers.
The Dallas Observer said the result is a "gas station-esque Qdoba that is surprisingly upscale."
"All of the restaurants will be paired with a gas station" and car wash, Julian Zorrilla with Go Loco told the newspaper. "But it's a totally different kind of experience."
Inside a Go Loco is not at all "travel center-ish," said the report. It is completely shut off from the store.
Go Loco is a concept that is targeted to underserved Texas markets near major highways, the company said when the concept was first announced. The menu's artisan approach and great value will appeal to the local community as well as the traveler looking for a distinctive meal. The restaurant serves a special breakfast menu and is open throughout the day for lunch and dinner.
"Go Loco is a restaurant with a passion for serving the flavor of Mexico on the highway of life," the restaurant says on its Facebook page. "We believe that everyone in America has the right to experience great Mexican dining no matter where they live or drive."
Its tagline: "Go Loco--The Flavor of Mexico, Your Way on the Highway."
The chain serves authentic Mexican food prepared with high-quality ingredients, chiles and spices. Its street tacos, burritos, salads and nachos are individually prepared to order and topped with signature relishes and flavorful salsas. Fillings include chicken verde, beef barbacoa, BBQ pulled pork and vegetarian options. Signature items include fresh fruit Limonada drinks and Chimayo Market Corn made with roasted corn, red chile sauce and cheese. For dessert, it offers Dulce de Leche soft-serve frozen custard. And it offers "Little Loco" specials for children.
Click here for the Observer reporter's take on the food and the experience.