Why Can’t We? – Downtown Tucson’s Taco Takeover
July 31, 2013
by Bree Collins
Downtown has an exciting array of new restaurants for foodies to try, but a lot of people have been thirsting for something a little more accessible. Gio Taco might be their answer. The plan is to update the fast/casual model with the Metzger Family’s own additions while maintaining their outstanding level of service. “Gio Taco will be fast and casual,” says Metzger. “As well as healthy, fresh, consistent, and with a level of service you can find at Jax Kitchen or The Abbey.” The theme of Gio Taco is ‘Why can’t we?’. “That question allows you to stop following trends,” says Metzger.
Like so many others involved in the revitalization of Downtown, Metzger grew up in Tucson. He went to the UofA, and has raised kids here. He believes the community is fair, that most people are tolerant, and appreciates that people can speak their minds. Although Gio Taco is a new style of restaurant built for Downtown, it is right in line with the Downtown model of working to establish a sense of community. “I love being a small business owner,” says Metzger. “It feels good to provide our employees with health insurance, to know that they can support a family while working for us.”
Gio Taco has been in the works for two years, and according to Metzger the timing couldn’t be better. When he heard about plans for The Cadence, he took it as a signal that it was time to start a Downtown project. “There was a living factor that could support the development Downtown,” says Metzger. He followed the process of the project, and when he met with the developer Jim Campbell it was a natural pairing. “Jim said to me, you know what we need Downtown – tacos,” recalls Metzger. “And it was great to tell him, guess what, that’s the plan.”
The Cadence is opening in a couple weeks, just in time for students heading back to the UofA, but the public won’t be able to enjoy Gio Taco until November. At the moment the space is still under construction. Two garage doors will be installed that will roll up during open hours, revealing a colorful design on the back wall meant to catch the eye of any passersby. “It’s going to be the first thing anyone sees, which will really set the tone for the experience,” says Metzger.
Its location underneath The Cadence gives the restaurant a feeling of a secret hideaway despite the constant stream of traffic outside its door. “The patio sets the front door back from the street, and the Cadence building blocks the sun as it’s going down,” says Metzger. “It’s perfect for happy hour.” Those relaxing on the patio will have a view of mountains and a portion of the Downtown area.
The first iteration of Gio Taco was actually ‘G.O. Taco’ – like ‘go’ but still highlighting step-son Giovanni – and had a Mexican theme. “The name was going to be more representative of our fast/casual business model,” says Metzger. “Then my wife and I went to Puerto Rico and we discovered all these new flavors that we had to include in the restaurant.” The trip also influence Gio Taco’s look. “It’s going to have a lemonade-stand, copacabana kind of feel.”
Downtowners can place orders from two different to-go windows – one near the entrance and the other in the back wall available to Cadence residents. “We can do a lot of fun things with the students as well as the Downtown community,” says Metzger. Gio Taco will deliver to the surrounding area, and will be present at Downtown events with the help of their delivery bicycle. The restaurant will also be an option for the hungry late-night crowd. The ever-changing menu will be entirely home-made, and they are always fighting to use local ingredients as much as possible. And as the beer and wine program is still pretty hush-hush, we’ll just have to wait until opening day to find out what Metzger has up his sleeve.
You can find out more on Gio Taco’s Facebook page.