Bartaco's most popular item is a glazed pork belly taco with pickled red onions. Bartaco opened Dec. 18 in Dallas, at Preston Road and Northwest Highway.

Bartaco's most popular item is a glazed pork belly taco with pickled red onions. Bartaco opened Dec. 18 in Dallas, at Preston Road and Northwest Highway.

Vernon Bryant/Staff Photographer

Sabato Sagaria, the president of Bartaco, says expanding his taco shop to Texas was "a real eye opening experience."

"We're coming to the Land of Tacos," he says.

In a crowded taco market, Sabato Sagaria (left), is opening a new taco shop alongside Dallas executive chef Cris Montes. Bartaco already has one Texas shop, in Fort Worth.

In a crowded taco market, Sabato Sagaria (left), is opening a new taco shop alongside Dallas executive chef Cris Montes. Bartaco already has one Texas shop, in Fort Worth.

Vernon Bryant/Staff Photographer

The first Bartaco in Texas opened in Fort Worth in May 2018. The second, at Northwest Highway and Preston Road in Dallas, opened Dec. 18, 2018.

And although this taco shop originated in New York and looks like it belongs on a beach, Sagaria hopes its ideal customers — "taco connoisseurs" — will welcome it to landlocked Dallas.

The most popular item at the 17 existing Bartacos across the country is a glazed pork belly taco with spicy arbol chile sauce. ("If we took that off the menu, there'd be a revolt," Sagaria says.) Much of the menu items are gluten-free, and diners will find vegetarian options like a cauliflower taco, falafel taco and portobello taco.

As the name suggests, Bartaco has a bar. Its signature cocktail is the Bartaco Margarita made with tequila, triple sec, agave syrup and lime juice.

The interior has a beach-shack vibe, with wicker-basket chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and a built-in, covered patio out front.

No beach in Dallas? No problem, Sagaria says: "Anytime somebody comes to Bartaco, we want it to be a little bit of an escape for them." The restaurant is in the space that was formerly home to Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen, from longtime Dallas chef Kent Rathbun.

There's not room on the streets near Preston Road and Northwest Highway for Bartaco to have sidewalk seating, so the restaurant owners built a recessed patio instead.

There's not room on the streets near Preston Road and Northwest Highway for Bartaco to have sidewalk seating, so the restaurant owners built a recessed patio instead.

Vernon Bryant/Staff Photographer

Bartaco's executive chef is Cris Montes, who has lived in Dallas for 18 years and joined the Bartaco team after working in kitchens for Seasons 52 and The Capital Grille.

This new taco shop joins a busy corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway, with restaurants like Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Taco Joint, Flying Fish and Pei Wei already established.

Bartaco will serve secret tacos that diners can find on Instagram under the hashtag #bartacosecret. A recent example is the company's miso cod taco served on a blue corn tortilla with sesame aioli and topped with pickled cucumber and shishito peppers.

Bartaco is located at 6130 Luther Lane, Dallas. It opened Dec. 18, 2018. During lunchtime through Jan. 31, $1 from each tray will be donated to No Kid Hungry.

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