While its main goal is to introduce the humble breakfast taco to more Spokane eaters, owners of the new quick food stop Taco Vado say breakfast burritos have actually been its bestselling menu item since opening about a month ago.
Located in a former coffee stand on Ash Street just north of downtown, Taco Vado serves Southwestern-inspired breakfast, lunch staples and coffee drinks from its two drive-through windows. The full menu is available all day.
Owners Mark Sherman and Will Lucas partnered to open the fast and affordable eatery, having previously worked together in area kitchens.
"Will wanted to do a dive bar, but I wanted to do a breakfast spot, and we would always joke about how popular breakfast was in Spokane," Sherman says. "I lived in Austin for a while and they had [breakfast tacos] there, and Will cooked in New Orleans and New Mexico and L.A., and so it was an evolution of different ideas that ended with Taco Vado."
In lieu of a mobile business model or the more costly investment of a traditional sit-down restaurant, the duo found the drive-through stand in West Central Spokane. It was formerly occupied by Whip-It-A-Latte, a bikini barista coffee stand that closed in December. After quick renovations, Taco Vado opened in mid-January.
"This seemed to be the best of both worlds for us," Sherman says. "We wanted people to be able to find us, and not have to go to events just to try us out. We looked at it as a happy medium, and wanted to be as quick as we could for fresh-made food."
Between its breakfast and lunch offerings, Taco Vado's menu offers just 10 food items, plus several 8-ounce side add-ons ($3-$9) like queso, guacamole, rice, beans, slaw and more.
All tacos are $3.50 each or three for $10, with breakfast versions served on flour tortillas and lunch on corn (customers can switch tortillas by request). The breakfast burrito ($7) comes with choice of meat or avocado and eggs, beans, cheese and salsa. Taco Vado's bowl ($8) contains avocado, salsa, slaw, meat, cheese, rice and beans. A vegan version of both is also available.
Breakfast taco options are the Eggleston (eggs, cheese, avocado), steak and eggs, Verde Manana (chili verde, eggs, cheese) and the Breakfast Vado (pork, eggs and cilantro). Lunch tacos, which come topped with onions and cilantro, are the Adovada (a play on adobado with red chili and pork), chile verde (beef), barbacoa (shredded beef with cebollita slaw) and pork carnitas.
Customers may notice that none of the items include bacon, which was both an intentional choice in order to offer something different, and because the tiny space doesn't allow for a fryer.
"Will also has amazing braised meat recipes he was able to bring in," Sherman adds.
On the drinks section of the menu, the Hazy Mocha — a concoction of hazelnut, chocolate, coffee, cream and a house milk blend — is a bestseller, alongside another house special, the Liquid Diet protein shake. Classic espresso drinks, cold brew coffee and white coffee round out the menu. A local pastry chef has also created custom cookie recipes for the stand.
"Although we have a fixed menu with small items, we cater to customization really well," Sherman notes. "We can mix and match and you can try different things on different tortillas. Whatever you're craving, you can get."
Come spring, the drive-through plans to set up some outdoor seating in its spacious corner lot. Sooner than that, though, Taco Vado plans offer a call-in order service to lessen wait times. ♦
Taco Vado • 1602 N. Ash St. • Open Mon-Sat 7 am-4 pm • facebook.com/tacovado