Taco Bamba Sets Open Date for Green Hills Location

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Taco Bamba
photo by Greg Powers

March 1, 2024 – Chef Victor Albisu, a James Beard-nominated chef based in the Washington, D.C. metro area, announces a March 12 opening date for Taco Bamba’s first Nashville location. Taco Bamba’s thirteenth overall spot will open at 4017 Hillsboro Pike, in the Hill Center at Green Hills shopping center, with a seasonal patio and full service bar. Like all Taco Bambas, Nashville’s menu and design were created exclusively for the neighborhood. From unique artwork celebrating the thirteenth iteration of the concept to the menu with nods to Nashville and the people who influence it, Albisu has written another album to feed his fans.

On March 12, doors will open at 9AM, and the first 100 guests will receive a complimentary limited-edition coffee tumbler and a “golden ticket,” redeemable for gifts ranging from free menu items and mezcal to free tee shirts and hats. Twenty lucky guests will receive a taco a week for a year.

“Opening our doors in Nashville is the fulfillment of an old promise,” Albisu said. “Years ago, during a tour stop in the D.C. area, Billy Gibbons told me I had to open in Nashville and to pay special attention to Green Hills. When Billy talks, I listen. The man doesn’t miss. This city has been so inspiring to me and my chefs. Whenever we open a new Bamba we compose a menu of original dishes inspired by our new surroundings, and this lineup is one of our best ever.”

Born out of a modest Northern Virginia strip mall in 2013, Taco Bamba started as a side project to Albisu’s fine dining headliner, a lux downtown South American grill. But in a tale as old as time, the experimental side gig became the fan favorite, and Albisu’s scrappy, irreverent, upstart taqueria now boasts 13 stops across four states and the District of Columbia. But there is no-cookie cutter formula for Taco Bamba, it’s not a cover act. Since it opened its second iteration, Albisu has envisioned each new Taco Bamba as a follow-up album; the flavorful fundamentals might remain the same, any fan of the brand will find their traditional favorites, but the showstoppers and encores are all original, unique to the new spot and not to be repeated. And like any good album, each Taco Bamba is wrapped in original artwork with its own signature look. In Nashville, a bold interior mural brings the musical subtext into the open, dubbing the location “Lucky 13,” pressing the designation on the label of a gold record, along with a title track taken from the restaurant’s long-used mantra: “Prepare Your Mouth.”

The Menu
Taco Bamba has built a loyal following through wildly creative original menu items generously portioned and approachably priced. The team behind the cuisine is an all-star lineup of trained chefs with fine dining backgrounds, honoring traditional flavors and cooking methods while diverging from taco conventions with memorable culinary mashups. Taco Bamba’s most creative diversions are original to each store, and Taco Bamba fans are known to travel far and wide to try each menu’s unique offerings.

At the Nashville location, these will include the Jolena, a taco with crispy cornmeal crusted catfish, agave lime slaw, chipotle spiced ranch, and a pickled corn salad. Another taco, the Broken Holas features Tennessee whiskey BBQ pork carnitas, potato salad, chipotle mustard, and tobacco onions. The All American Chica torta is a Vegetarian ensemble of garlic herb cream cheese spread, cucumber, roasted peppers, avocados, and pickled Fresnos, while the El Pimento Empanada stuffs perfectly flaky pastry with molten pimento cheese and roasted jalapeño.

Albisu and his team are known for their collaborations, whether with artists and photographers, or other chefs. No creative partnership makes them more proud than the Sharp Dressed Hombre, one of Taco Bamba Nashville’s signature menu items. The taco features a slow roasted brisket cooked in Billy Gibbons and Tim Montana’s Whisker Bomb hot sauce, which will also be available throughout the restaurant. The taco is dressed (sharply) with pepitas, sweet and spicy slaw, citrus onion, and pickled jalapeño.
All tacos can be ordered dirty-style, the tortilla dressed with seared cheese and chili sauce before filling, or clean-style, setting aside the tortilla in favor of a fresh and crisp cabbage cup. Beyond tacos, each location boasts original empanadas, ceviches, quesadillas, sopes, and nachos, in addition to Mexican street food favorites like elotes.

Bar Program
Each Taco Bamba also offers a full bar program, giving the menu’s bold Mexican flavors a steady backbeat of agave-based cocktails that are also unique to the release. Nashville Bamba Heads can order the Ole Yella, with mezcal, bourbon, Chinola passion fruit liqueur, pineapple Jarrito, and chocolate mole bitters. The His Brother Is Worse mixes reposado tequila, al pastor-spiced grapefruit juice, orange-scented agave, and lime juice.

The Space
Located in the Green Hills neighborhood, Taco Bamba’s first Nashville stop will have tables and bar seating in a 2800-square-foot-space and include a seasonal patio. Table seating will be serviced from a carryout counter, while the bar will offer full service to accompany the creative list of mezcal and tequila cocktails. While a signature red and black design aesthetic carries over to every location, each is reimagined with original art and design flourishes. Nashville will be home to the Lucky 13 mural celebrating the new space as Taco Bamba’s latest hit record.

Hours of Operation: Sunday-Thursday, 9 am-9 pm; Friday-Saturday, 9 am-11 pm.

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