Future Favorites: Cilantro Tacos to Open New Mexican Restaurant Downtown
After running a small, mom-and-pop style restaurant for three years, Cilantro Tacos owners are ready to open a new location in downtown Gainesville this fall.
Cilantro Tacos, a family-owned Mexican restaurant in Newberry, is looking to expand its franchise to Gainesville in August.
Nareth Meth, one of the owners of Cilantro Tacos, said the restaurant will be located at 317 SW Fourth Ave., next to Opus Coffee.
Unlike their current restaurant, which is a sit-down establishment, the new location will be more casual, Meth said. Although it will have seating and tables, customers will order at a counter and choose their own seats.
Meth said it will be similar to fast-food restaurants, but Cilantro Tacos will have the same great food Gainesville and Newberry residents know and love.
The restaurant doesn’t use any frozen meat or canned food, he said. Everything is fresh and natural, from the meat and salsa to the slices of pineapple.
The authenticity of the food is another reason why customers choose Cilantro Tacos over chain restaurants like Taco Bell, he said.
“We are from southern California. We live right off the Mexican border and we cross all the time, so our tacos are closer to what they would serve in Mexico,” Meth said.
Sen Khiev, another owner of Cilantro Tacos, said the menu will essentially be the same as their current restaurant with a few changes.
They will offer new items such as elote (Mexican street corn), taquitos (crisp, fried tacos), carne asada fries and a selection of local beers on tap, he said.
“Our tacos, of course, can be life changing and come with a choice of eight meat options: chicken, ground beef, steak, barbacoa (stewed steak), carnitas (stewed pork), al pastor (diced pork and pineapples), grilled fish and grilled shrimp,” Khiev said.
The price range for menu items are also affordable, he said. Prices can range from $3 with tax included for a single chicken taco or $14 for a shrimp quesadilla.
Aside from the business’ location in Newberry and upcoming store in Gainesville, they also have a traveling food truck that is already well-known in Gainesville.
The food truck has made appearances over the past year in places like the farmers market in Bo Diddley Plaza and Swamp Head Brewery. They said it was because of the positive feedback from customers at these locations that interested the company in expanding to another permanent restaurant.
Khiev said that even though there will be a permanent establishment in Gainesville, they will continue to operate the food trucks and hope the business will continue to grow in the future.
“The food truck has been such a vital part of our business and allows us to be where our customers and fans will be,” he said.
He said it allows them to be a part of gatherings at local breweries, farmers markets, work sites, and special catering events such as birthday parties, fraternity/sorority events, philanthropic events and weddings.
“We are proud that our food truck is a part of UF baseball games, Gator Growl and other UF events throughout the year,” Khiev said. “We look forward to being a part of more special moments in Gainesville.”
As of right now they don’t have any immediate plans to open another location, but are hopeful their Gainesville restaurant will be a success, and allow for the company to expand in the near future.
They will be serving their food in the company of other great restaurants in the new “4th Avenue Food Park” opening up downtown.
“We are extremely excited to be a part of 4th Avenue Food Park,” Khiev said. “We can’t wait to be part of a destination where families, college students, downtown workers, and the entire community can gather to enjoy great food and drinks in a fun and relaxing environment.”