Capital Tacos looks to capitalize on unique approach in Brandon

James Marcus (left) and Josh Luger (right) own and operate Capital Tacos along with founders Bobby and Kristel Heskett. Photo courtesy of Capital Tacos.
James Marcus (left) and Josh Luger (right) own and operate Capital Tacos along with founders Bobby and Kristel Heskett. Photo courtesy of Capital Tacos.
Published Dec. 15, 2017

BRANDON — There are "secret" menu items that only regular diners have come to know.

There's a clock distinctively affixed to the wall, counting down to something worth waiting for. And on certain days, if you order in an Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator, voice you get free food.

Capital Tacos is a tad more than a casual restaurant. It's a bit of an experience, a brand and a destination all rolled together like one of its 24 core menu items.

And it's coming to Brandon next week.

Bobby and Kristel Heskett founded the concept in 2012, opening the original 1,100 square foot Capital Tacos in Land O' Lakes without the benefit of a sign.

There's still no sign at the original location, yet Capital Tacos has since expanded to Wesley Chapel and New Port Richey while earning honors as a top three taco shop in the nation from a popular website.

The newest location, the first to be designed from scratch rather than converting an existing, second generation restaurant spot, will be adjacent to Olde Town Pizzeria at 119 W Bloomingdale Avenue in a former martial arts and ice cream locale.

Check for details, but according to Josh Luger and James Marcus, who joined the Hesketts in the ownership group in 2016, Capital Tacos plans to start only opening for lunch, then grow into later hours after the new year before eventually staying open until 9:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. during weekends.

"It's a great spot," Marcus said. "We believe that if you do things right, then we don't need to be next to a Walmart or a Publix or out in the street or have a big, glaring sign. We don't advertise. We're not about the convenience. People come to us because we focus on the experience. We want to be the destination restaurant."

The Brandon location will offer more than 100 menu choices. First, pick from two dozen chef-created combinations featuring different meats, flavors and spice levels. Second, make it into a taco, burrito, rice bowl, salad or plate of nachos.

A new offering coming to Brandon is the Big Kahuna (fried fish) while the most popular is the 3 Little Piggies (pork three ways). Also making debuts for Capital Tacos in Brandon include frozen sangria and margarita cocktails, 10 + craft/Mexican beers and a focus on kids that includes more than just one treat.

"One of the ideas we have here is to bring out more of what we do so it ties in with our food," said Luger, referencing a new, custom toy that comes in kid's meals along with the ability for kids to play pinball for free.

They also want to highlight how employees have opportunities to "self-direct" their career growth by meeting specific benchmarks.

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The eatery features 24 outdoor seats and 42 inside - with room to expand. An open floorplan allows diners to see in the kitchen and also watch staffers make homemade tortillas, another new touch for Brandon.

Customers soon will be able to use the new Capital Tacos app to order ahead online and start climbing through 16 levels of Capital Rewards that includes new experiences like "Goofy Day Promotions," so you know when to practice your Terminator voice.

Next on the Capital Tacos plate is possible expansion plans into second generation spaces most likely in Tampa and Pinellas County next year.

Doughnuts expand to Big Red Barn location

Remi's Minis, which began selling mini doughnuts out of an Airstream at the Winthrop Town Centre in March, recently added a new location at the Big Red Barn off of Gibsonton Drive in Riverview.

Both locations are now operating under winter hours. At Winthrop, the hours are 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, 7am-6pm. At the Big Red Barn location the hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.

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