Former Naked Onion space attracts takeout Mexican joint

TBT El Gallo plans to open in the former Naked Onion space in October. El Gallo will offer tacos, tortas and other Mexican food out of its location in the Fan. (BizSense file photo)

The recently vacated Naked Onion restaurant at 2118 W. Cary St. in the Fan wasn’t left bare for long.

TBT El Gallo, an upstart Mexican takeout concept, plans to take over the space in October.

Carlos Ordaz-Nunez envisions TBT El Gallo as a takeout and delivery restaurant focused on authentic Mexican cuisine. (Photo courtesy of TBT El Gallo)

TBT refers to the restaurant’s mainstay menu items: tacos, burritos and tortas. El Gallo, which means the rooster in Spanish, is the family nickname of owner Carlos Ordaz-Nunez. He picked it up thanks to a particularly bad childhood haircut.

“Richmond still needs a (a place for) very traditional Mexican-inspired tacos,” he said.

Ordaz-Nunez is aiming for what he considers an affordable price range of $3 to $4 tacos, and other items coming in around $10, to entice Fan residents into making El Gallo their go-to for takeout and delivery.

“This is going to be a place for everyday tacos,” he said. “It’s not going to break the bank.”

The 27-year-old has been working in restaurants since he was 19. He grew up in Richmond and most recently lived in D.C. before he returned to town.

Carlos Ordaz-Nunez

He started doing pop ups for TBT El Gallo around town earlier this month. He wants to complete 15 pop ups before opening day as a marketing strategy to drum up excitement and build name recognition. He might continue the pop ups once the restaurant opens.

Though Ordaz-Nunez is reworking the 700-square-foot spot to add his touch to what was left behind from Naked Onion’s departure, he won’t introduce dine-in service.

He plans to invest $20,000 into the space for new equipment and renovations. King William-based Chef’s Choice Restaurant Repair Inc. is doing the electrical work. A family member is the contractor.

El Gallo comes to the neighborhood as the economic disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic pick off other local eateries. Metro Bar & Grill has permanently closed, and Lamplighter Coffee Roasters has pulled the plug on its Fan location. Another Fan newcomer is Ever Better Coffee Co., which plans to also open in October.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
10 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Charles Frankenhoff
Charles Frankenhoff
1 month ago

It sounds great, I hope they are authentic.
currently El Chido is pretty much it for good tacos in Richmond, it would be nice to have a more convenient place

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
1 month ago

Who would down vote that?

Carlos Ordaz-Nunez
Carlos Ordaz-Nunez
1 month ago

I hope you swing by a Pop-upevent, Charles when we’re open, I’ll love to have you check out the food.

charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
1 month ago

me gusta probarlos cuando estas listo. Si no pica, no es rica..

Last edited 1 month ago by charles Frankenhoff
Henry Fordsom
Henry Fordsom
1 month ago

Plenty of great taquerias in Richmond or very close that are good. Chico is only one.

charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Henry Fordsom

I disagree I fear. Though Tacos El Mexico on J. Davis is also good. But none are great, like say Veracruz in Austin

Deon Hamner
Deon Hamner
1 month ago

Wish them all the best. Look forward to trying them out.

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
1 month ago

Dale paisano, a festejar con unos tacos sabrosos. Ojala tendran tacos de nopales.

Solid announcement the day after Mexico’s Independence Day 🇲🇽

Carlos Ordaz-Nunez
Carlos Ordaz-Nunez
1 month ago
Reply to  Ashley Smith

no te preocupes amo los nopales,
I’m definitely having a taco de nopales on the menu, I’m also planning on using them in a salad as well

Tim Harper
Tim Harper
1 month ago

I live nearby and I’m a regular customer at Little Mexico, right down the street. Their food seems a little generic and Americanized. I am looking forward to trying TBT!