One of the best things about restaurants with Mexican food is, as a matter of course, they usually have more non-alcoholic options than many other restaurants. You’ve got your grain drinks like Horchata and Atole and you have your fruit drinks like Agua Fresca and Limonada. (All of which will get posts of their own!) Not to mention Mexican Coca-Cola and Jarritos.
The extremely successful Tacolicious chain of restaurants steps those normal Mexican restaurant options up a notch or two by adding a brace of creative non-alcoholic refreshers to their menu.
Started at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market in 2009, they now have 3 very popular locations in San Francisco, one in Palo Alto, and one in San Jose, making them, perhaps, one of the most influential purveyors of non-alcoholic beverages in the Bay Area.
Tacolicious’ founder, Joe Hargrave was kind enough to respond to my questions about the humorously named subsection of their menu dedicated to non-alcoholic libations.
1) Recently, it seems more common for restaurants to leave their non-alcoholic options off the menu entirely, and have them as verbal options. What prompted you to feature non-alcoholic drinks on the Tacolicious menu?
“We know plenty of folks who choose not to consume alcohol for one reason or another and we feel strongly that a beverage program needs to be inclusive and not just give teetotalers the usual, pedestrian choice of iced tea or lemonade. Call them mocktails or just call them delicious drinks, but offering up mixed non-alcoholic beverages gives everyone—including kids—some more creative choices. “
2) As an, ahem, actual Recovering Bartender, in several senses of the phrase, I really like the humor in the subheading of the menu section you use for non alcoholic drinks, “Drivers, Kids, and Recovering Bartenders”. Who came up with that subheading and what sort of feedback do you get, positive or negative?
“I came up with it. It’s important not to take ourselves too seriously. Humor is a huge part of Tacolicious’s culture. “
“Yes. Tons of people appreciate the fact that we’re looking out for them as much as the folks looking to imbibe a full-blown cocktail.”
“We offer the Mia, Silas, and Moss on our regular menu (all named after our three kids), as well as housemade horchata and seasonal, housemade agua frescas. Of course the percentage of cocktails, beer and wine is higher than the NA, but we hope that we’re giving people enough options to satiate their desire for something non-alcoholic yet fun to drink. (And btw, you can always ask for our cocktails to be made without alcohol. The paloma is delicious without the tequila.)”