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.
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.
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.