Reigning local Cal-Mex empire Tacolicious has hired a new culinary director, Quinten Frye, to oversee its five locations. He’s filling the big shoes previously worn by executive chef and partner Telmo Faria. Those have been empty for some time now, since Faria left his post in 2015 to pursue his longtime dream of a Portuguese restaurant — efforts that materialized this year as Uma Casa in Noe Valley.
Frye was a James Beard Award Semi-Finalist for Rising Star Chef in 2013 when he worked at Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar in Honolulu. He was later executive chef at Washington, DC’s Big Bear Cafe. Yesterday, Frye was spotted serving up tostadas at CUESA’s Summer Celebration with the Tacolicious squad — not far from the spot the mini-chain’s owner, Joe Hargrave, started it all with a Farmers Market taco stand in 2009.
Tacolicious now operates three restaurants in San Francisco and one each in Palo Alto and San Jose plus Bar San Pancho, a Mission District sports bar. The company’s expansion has come with some growing pains: In March, Hargrave settled a class-action wage lawsuit for $900,000, though without claiming liability. Most recently, Tacolicious announced it would be getting into the delivery business with an on-demand only rotisserie chicken company called MF Chicken selling Mexican-style chicken and fixings through Caviar.
The Austin native will launch his new menu in July, though no word yet on what changes he might make (Austin-inspired breakfast tacos?!); Eater has reached out for more.