The exciting evolution of the Mexican food dining scene in Atlanta continues to expand as Rreal Tacos refines its unique brand and continues to open new locations in Chamblee and Sandy Springs in the next six months. Owners Damian Otero and Miguel Hernandez have created a restaurant concept that combines a high-energy vibe with authentic Mexican street food.
“In Atlanta, if you want real, authentic tacos like they make in Mexico City, you must go to Buford Highway to a small mom-and-pop restaurant. You can do that with a sister or a cousin, but it’s not a date night kind of place,” explains Otero. “Conversely, if you want something upscale with great drinks, you have to go to one of the mammoth restaurants, but their food is ‘Americanized.’” Rreal Tacos has created a niche brand that intersects the two.
When patrons enter Rreal Tacos in Midtown or West Midtown, they are transported into an atmosphere with modern Mexican aesthetics without the need for a passport. There is no mariachi-style music in Rreal Tacos. Guests listen to music from popular artists such as Bad Bunny, known for Latin trap and reggaeton. “Our restaurants are designed for the new generation looking for a high-energy, upscale dining experience,” says Otero.
Otero and Hernandez have recruited top-level chefs, managers, and mixologists to ensure patrons have a one-of-a-kind experience. With Latinos now accounting for 11% of Atlanta’s population, Otero notes the bar for excellence in the taco scene is very high. The new generation of taco enthusiasts is looking for authentic, high-quality Mexican food. “I believe diners realized five years ago that they’ve been eating Tex-Mex their whole lives, and they are hungering for an authentic version of a taco. Our customers want to try all the varieties of our tacos,” he adds.
The eatery strives to recreate the unique characteristics of tacos from various regions of Mexico such as asada from northeastern Monterrey, birria barbacoa from Guadalajara, or taco al pastor, one of Mexico City’s signature tacos. “We have a very high standard and believe our menu items surpass others because of our unwavering commitment to using the freshest cuts of meat and cooking with key ingredients sourced only from Mexico,” says Otero.
Chefs Ignacio Barquera and Miguel Aguirre bring over 30 years of combined culinary experience to Rreal Tacos and execute a menu that ranges from the popular birria barbacoa, carne asada, and grilled chicken tacos to picanha steak taco with chimichurri sauce and slow-cooked pork carnitas. Desserts like platano macho, sweet plantain with cream and brown sugar, round out the menu.
The chefs use only fresh, never frozen, meat that is marinated for 12 to 24 hours so it never loses its flavor. Small batches are grilled on a Mexican-style asador to ensure the highest-quality tacos are created throughout the day. Spices such as chile guajillo, clavo, hojas de laurel and pimienta molida help to create the unique flavor profiles.
Mixologists and beverage directors Arturo Salgado and Jesus Perez curate Rreal Taco’s extensive list of libations that offers a deep dive into tequila and mezcals, along with 24 creative cocktails, more than 200 different tequilas, and 100 mezcals. The extensive margarita collection is among the best in the city and includes the Malverde, fresco cucumber, spicy pineapple margarita, mezcalita, Hennessy margarita, and many others.
In addition to owning Rreal Tacos, Otero and Hernandez are co-founders of Resto, a restaurant technology company that implements a unique QR code configuration that has allowed them to reimagine Rreal Tacos’ service model to provide an extraordinary guest experience. The QR code streamlines the order-taking process, connects it to the kitchen, and benefits the wait staff and diners. With guests having their ordering and payment technology at their fingertips, they have control over the pace of the meal. “With this data, we can better understand our customers’ preferences and continue to deliver what our diners desire,” says Hernandez.
As a relatively new company, Rreal Tacos already offers a program where top-level performing employees have an opportunity to own equity in new locations. “We believe in creating opportunities for our team members to become our partners as we expand,” says Hernandez.
Despite inflation and the post-COVID labor shortage, Rreal Tacos’ growth is burgeoning. The eatery will open locations in Chamblee and Sandy Springs within the next six months and is planning expansion to Buckhead, Decatur, and Gwinnett County. Beyond Georgia, Rreal Tacos is eyeing to open with employee operating partners in South Florida, Nashville, Charlotte, and surrounding cities that can support a three-location operation. Each retail location averages between 2,500 and 3,500 square feet and features an outdoor patio.
About Rreal Tacos
Rreal Tacos—owned by CEO Damian Otero and president Miguel Hernandez, brings the authentic flavor of Mexican street food to taco purists and connoisseurs in Atlanta at its two locations: Midtown at 100 6th St. NE #110 and West Midtown at 1000 Northside Dr. NW, Ste. 600. Rreal Tacos will open new locations in Chamblee and Sandy Springs in the next six months. For more information, call (404) 458-5887 or visit rrealtacos.com.