Tazdin Charania and his daughter Sana Charania-Moloo worked for nearly two years on opening a bar and restaurant near their hometown of Plano. They carefully chose a location in Little Elm with heavy foot and car traffic, built out the space to welcome local beer drinkers, and developed a menu of tacos to compliment the libations.
Excited by the prospect of helping her father bring his passion project to life, Sana quit her job in the IT field to support the family's new business venture. The next day, Tazdin was diagnosed with tongue cancer.
"Literally, my phone fell out of my hand," says Sana of the moment she heard about her father's diagnosis. "It was pretty devastating."
That was in August. In the months since, Tazdin underwent surgery to remove most of his tongue, many of his teeth and some of his jawbone. He started chemotherapy and radiation, and now attends speech therapy several times per week.
The business was put on hold while Tazdin focused on his health. But on Nov. 24, he and Sana brought their dream project to the finish line. 3 Flights Up Taps and Tacos, a beer bar and taco joint, opened the day after Thanksgiving.
After running years of cafes in office buildings, Tazdin wanted a space where he could showcase more creativity. He designed a small menu of what Sana calls "globally-inspired tacos," including a buffalo chicken recipe served with gorgonzola cheese, shredded carrots and ranch dressing; chicken tikka with the signature tomato-spiced tikka sauce, mint raita and basmati rice; beef vindaloo with steak, crunchy potato sticks and basmati rice; and beef bulgogi with Korean-style barbecue sauce and kimchi slaw, among others. For vegetarians, there are fried cauliflower tacos and fried paneer tacos.
As far as drinks, 3 Flights Up has 24 taps pouring a selection of beers, primarily local, and eight taps for wine, plus two cask engines. Drinkers can stay for a pint or flight, or take home their favorite libation in growler (wine included). Growlers are also available for purchase onsite.
Though opening the bar is no doubt a milestone, Tazdin and Sana both know their journey is only beginning. But if there's one thing they're not short on, it's resilience.
"All I know is god is great. And I will fight through this," said Tazdin in a statement provided by Sana. (He often communicates via written text since the surgery.) "3 Flights Up had to happen."
"After all we've gone through as a family these past three months, we're still positive and strong about keeping up with our dream and showing to the world it can happen," Sana says. "When you fall you can always get up."