Photography by Kathy Tran.

Chicken tikka, shrimp ’n’ grits, Nashville hot chicken, fish and chips, chicken and waffles, Monte Cristo. These are just a few of the dishes that inspire chef Grant Morgan at Velvet Taco. The late-night spot proves any dish can be turned into a taco. Except maybe soup. But it wouldn’t be surprising if he made that work, too. He put grits in a taco for goodness sake. 

Every week he creates a weekly taco feature, a “WTF.” It allows him to stay on top of food trends and try them out taco-style. 

“I’ve seen caviar as a garnish in a lot of fine dining restaurants lately, so last week we had a Baja taco with caviar,” Morgan says. 

Morgan’s favorite WTF? A char siu pork taco with crispy, puffed rice. But a close second is the fried alligator taco on a hibiscus tortilla. He says the most underrated taco on the menu is the shrimp and grits. His favorite taco, surprisingly, isn’t the fan-favorite chicken tikka. 

“The No. 12, the brisket, is my favorite,” Morgan says. “It’s the cheese-crusted flour tortilla with the slow-roasted brisket. It has chili-mayo and avocado relish. It’s good.”

For Velvet Taco, becoming a part of the community is important. Owners use existing spaces so each location fits with the neighborhood. The Henderson location is the original and has the most intimate feel. The restaurant’s food and beer selections are locally sourced. Owners won’t expand to just any old neighborhood either, so it’s a compliment that they started here. 

The owners are in no hurry to grow up. They pick each location carefully to make sure it’s a good fit. They want to be sure they get each new store off on the right foot before starting the next one. 

“Even though we are starting to get bigger, we want to feel small and do small stuff, which is the big stuff,” Morgan says.

Back-door chicken

While taco is king, it may surprise people to know this restaurant has a great meal deal available. All you have to do is knock on the back door. You can order inside too, but that’s not nearly as fun. For $20, you can take home a whole rotisserie chicken, a side of elote, a stack of tortillas, pico and heat sauce. On Mondays, you can get back-door chicken for $10, but come early because they sell out by 7 p.m.

Velvet Taco

3012 N. Henderson Ave.

Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 10 a.m.- 2 a.m.

Thursdays: 10 a.m.-3 a.m.

Fridays: 10 a.m.-4 a.m.

Saturdays: 9 a.m.-4 a.m.

Sundays: 9 a.m.-2 a.m.

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