Tacolicious' executive chef and partner, Telmo Faria, has been a part of the restaurant's growth since the beginning, but as of this month, he's taking a less active role in the burgeoning mini-chain, which has grown to four locations under his watch. According to owner Joe Hargrave, Faria will remain a partner, but has decided to step down from chef duties to pursue his longtime dream of opening a Portuguese restaurant (he's a native of the Azores). Hargrave says Faria will "always be a part of the Tacolicious family and one of my closest friends," and that he'll still help out at special events from time to time. Those looking to check out Faria's next move should hit up his forthcoming Portuguese pop-up at Merigan Sub Shop, to be held on May 24.
To help fill Faria's shoes, Hargrave has joined forces with chef Donnie Masterton, with whom he worked at Rose Pistola and LuLu, among other restaurants. In recent years, Masterton, who's also an alum of Tavern on the Green and Montrachet, has earned acclaim for his upscale The Restaurant, located in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. As part of the new collaboration, Tacolicious will open a small restaurant, the Tacolicious Taco Lab, in San Miguel de Allende, with Masterton as executive chef; it'll be the company's first project outside of both the Bay Area and the U.S.
Hargrave's plan is to have quarterly confabs and tests with Masterton about new menu items, then bring him up to the Bay Area to help institute them at each of Tacolicious' locations. Masterton is already at work on developing new ceviches, gorditas, and panuchos for Tacolicious' upcoming menus.
The Tacolicious Taco Lab won't open until late 2015 (its exact location is also under wraps), but in the meantime, Hargrave will be visiting San Miguel de Allende for next month's Sabores San Miguel, a food festival organized by Masterton and featuring the likes of Carlo Mirarchi and Neal Fraser.