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Salt Lake’s newest restaurant isn’t flashy and Co-owner Todd Gardiner wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tucked away in Lamplighter Square, Taqueria27 is meant to be good food, good tequila and a good experience. To that end, Gardiner and his business partner and wife, Kristin Gardiner, kept the interior clean and neutral.
The most colorful part of T27 is the restaurant’s “Zion Curtain” – a huge wall with chalk illustrations of the available tequilas and beer done by artist Malia Denali. The rest of the building is done in sleek concrete and wood found by the Gardiners and fashioned into tables, the bar and a wall.
Gardiner said they wanted to keep the focus on the food and drinks, without the feeling veering into pretension. “At the end of the day we’re just here to have great, interesting stuff in a great atmosphere,” he said.
The taqueria got its start because Gardiner said he was tired of working for other people. He felt it was time to move on from Z-Tejas, and didn’t want to put it 90 hour weeks building up his career at someone else’s restaurant. So he decided to make the move on a location he’d been eyeing for more than two years.
After looking into a few different concepts, the Gardiners settled on tacos and tequila. “You can put anything in a great tortilla. The possibilities are endless,” he said, explaining the final decision. He wanted it to be a place where people could get Latin street food in a low-key environment.
Gardiner also wanted a good restaurant within walking distance of his home. So he started one. He didn’t feel like there was the kind of restaurant he wanted to eat at without going downtown, and he hopes others feel like it’s a place to come hang out after work or grab lunch with their kids.
He’s also tried hard to give people great food at good costs. The restaurant charges a much lower markup on drinks than others do because Gardiner wanted to keep prices reasonable.
“I’m not in this for glory or fame or recognition,” he said. “I want to make a great experience for people where they feel like they got great value, a great meal and a great time… We’re trying really, really hard to make sure everyone’s experience is an A plus experience.”
While Taqueria27 has only been open three weeks, Gardiner said he’s gotten great response from customers and already has regulars. “It’s been a great welcome to the neighborhood.”
The Coffee Bar is next door to T27 and operates under the same business license, and Gardiner says people can take food from the restaurant to the coffee place if they want a different atmosphere. He also sees a time in the near future where the coffee place can serve breakfast on weekends.
Taqueria27 is at 1615 S. Foothill Drive, Ste. G in Salt Lake City. For more information, visit www.taqueria27.com