NOTE: This restaurant has closed. A steak house called “The Strip Club” now operates in this location.
I’ve always thought that the Trade Street area in downtown Greer would be the perfect place for art shops and restaurants. It’s a nice little contained area, and would make a good destination spot.
Restaurants have had their ups and downs in the area. There was a brief flurry of activity several years ago as several high-end restaurants opened. Unfortunately, several of these didn’t survive the recent economic downturn. The good news is that new places are starting open, and the restaurant situation is once again looking up.
Greer is only five miles from my office, so it’s definitely within lunch range. I decided to try one of the new places, Taco Parilla.
This space was previously occupied by Gerhard’s, a high-end Italian restaurant that didn’t make it. It’s a fantastic location for a restaurant, with a side entrance right where Trade Street meets Highway 290.
Taco Parilla is owned by the same folks that operate Great Bay Oyster Company right across the street. Great Bay has recently expanded to include sushi creating a restaurant-within-a-restaurant concept with Sushi Mizu.
It’s obvious that the owners want to cover as many culinary bases as possible, and that eclectic concept has also been carried over into Taco Parilla.
Classic brick exterior on a traditional town street, side entrance with outdoor seating greet one upon arriving, and a combination of modern and old grace the interior. There is lots of pressed tin decoration for a Mexican flavor, but mostly subdued tones with an occasional splash of color.
There is a bar, with about a dozen tables in the main dining area. Large windows provide a view out onto the main road.
The lunch time clientele seemed fairly young – mostly professionals in their 30’s.
The key word is fusion. Forget Mexican – in this case the taco shell is simply a transport device for a variety of fillings from many different cuisines. You can get traditional tacos with several types of meats – ground beef, carnitas, shrimp, chorizo, fish, and beer butt chicken. However, you’ll also find several types of Asian tacos, and tacos with brisket, gyro meat, and other unusual fillings. These range from $2.25 to about $5 per taco, depending on the fillings.
There are also several appetizers, a couple of salads (taco salads, of course) and quesadillas. You can also get a wet burrito for $9, which is the most expensive item on the menu.
Since the word “taco” is in the name of the place, I figured that’s what I should try. I ordered a Bama Beer Butt Chicken taco, which included pulled chicken, a vinegar slaw, and Alabama white sauce (whatever that is.) I also ordered a carne asada taco, just to be on the safe side.
Chips and salsa arrived first. These were good. The salsa had a smokey flavor more akin to TexMex than actual Mexican salsa. It had enough kick to make it interesting, but not overpowering.
The tacos themselves soon arrived. The Bama Beer Butt Chicken turned out to be the best of these. The vinegar slaw gave it a tang that really carried the flavors of the chicken. The carne asada was good, but I found myself adding some of the salsa from the chips to give it a bit more pizzazz.
The one problem was that the portions tended to be small. I finished my two tacos and found that I was still hungry, so I ordered one more Bama Beer Butt Chicken (actually, I just like typing that.)
Service was quick and efficient. Food arrived on time, but not too quickly. The waitress responded promptly when I was ready for my additional taco, and offered a to-go cup as I was getting ready to leave.
The food was excellent. I’m not sure I’m adventurous enough to try some of the more exotic offerings, but I may at some point. The biggest problem was with the serving size-to-price ratio. My lunch total came to nearly $14, before the tip. That’s too expensive for lunch. I know that quality food, and interesting cuisine comes at a price, but the word “taco” conjures up something that shouldn’t cost quite so much.
Regardless, I will probably try this again. It just won’t be one of my regular lunch stops.