3 restaurants taking tacos to a whole new level

Credit: Dayton.com

Credit: Dayton.com

A well-made tasty taco is an enormously satisfying thing.

Over the last few weeks, I have discovered new ways to feed my taco obsession. These three spots are taking on the humble taco and elevating it with their own unique kitchen style and ingredients. Rejoice!

Margaritas for 33 cents are just one of the reasons to try Table 33 on Taco Tuesday. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED
Margaritas for 33 cents are just one of the reasons to try Table 33 on Taco Tuesday. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED

Table 33

130 W. 2nd St., Dayton | 937-999-3070 | www.table33dayton.com

Downtown’s Table 33 has a Taco Tuesday promotion that kicked off in July that I love. Most importantly because it’s delicious, but secondly because it comes with a 33 cent margarita add-on option for dine-in only. BONUS: All of this can be enjoyed on a spacious outdoor patio.

All à la carte margaritas are an affordable $3.33. They aren’t large drinks, but they pack a nice punch.

Explore5 of the best under-the-radar tacos in Dayton

From 5-8 p.m. on Tuesdays, the restaurant rolls out delicious scratch-made tacos and spiced up flavorful specials.

Table 33 in Dayton's pork carnitas tacos topped with bright pickled onion, fresh cilantro and salsa verde. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED
Table 33 in Dayton's pork carnitas tacos topped with bright pickled onion, fresh cilantro and salsa verde. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED

Their standard savory pork carnitas tacos topped with bright pickled onion, fresh cilantro and salsa verde ($12) are one of my favorites. Their vegan tacos with house-made pickles, beet hummus, house-made cashew cheese, sprouts and arugula pesto ($13) are also an option.

Their elote street corn ($7) was so good I didn’t want to share it with my husband, and I’m almost never stingy with my food. The charred corn is chili-marinated and topped with a zesty lime aioli, Pecorino Romano and cilantro.

Table 33 in Dayton's elote street corn is too good to share. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED
Table 33 in Dayton's elote street corn is too good to share. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED

This week’s specials were beef and bacon tacos made with Keener Farms seasoned beef, peppered applewood smoked bacon, house pickles, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, Gorgonzola and house sauce and a beef tostada with barbacoa, basil pesto, pickled jalapeño, local arugula and queso fresco.

The specialty margarita was peach blueberry. Scratch-made churros ($6) are available to finish the meal if dessert is required.

Food is available for carry-out and the menu is gluten-free.

Ghostlight Coffee has launched ‘Fantasmo Taco’ at its South Patterson Boulevard shop, serving up tacos Thursday through Saturday evenings. Photo by Abby Hofrichter/Hofrichter Creative
Ghostlight Coffee has launched ‘Fantasmo Taco’ at its South Patterson Boulevard shop, serving up tacos Thursday through Saturday evenings. Photo by Abby Hofrichter/Hofrichter Creative

Credit: Abby Hofrichter/Hofrichter Creative

Credit: Abby Hofrichter/Hofrichter Creative

Fantasma Taco

800 S. Patterson Blvd., Dayton | 937-701-0068 | www.fantasmataco.com

There’s a new taco option in town — three nights a week, anyway.

Ghostlight Coffee has launched a sister shop, “Fantasma Taco,” at its Ghostlight Midtown shop at 800 S. Patterson Blvd.

“You know, at Ghostlight, we decided we needed a side hustle,” founder Shane Anderson said on his Facebook page. “Therefore: It’s Taco Time!” Fantasma Tacos are available Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., for carryout and delivery. “Eventually, we will expand hours to 11:30 p.m. for all you late-night taco lovers,” Anderson said.

ExploreGhostlight Coffee launches ‘Fantasma Taco’ at its South Patterson Boulevard shop

There are three “mod tacos” available: Nashville Hot with the choice of chicken or vegan soy-based “chicken” with Nashville hot sauce, agave lime slaw, pickled red onions, herbed crema, and seasoned crumbs ($8 for two tacos); Ocho Rios made with shredded pork or vegan mushroom “pork” with Rum Jerk Sauce, pickled pineapple, jalapenos, herbed crema and tortilla crumbles, $8 for two tacos; and Beef Brisket or vegan brisket with Memphis BBQ Sauce, agave lime slaw, pickled red onions, herbed crema and crunched-up sea-salt potato chips, $8.75 for two tacos.

Other taco options are billed as street-inspired, and they include:

  • Pollo: Beer-braised chicken, pico de gallo, cilantro, herbed crema, $6.50 for two tacos
  • Carne: Beer-braised beef brisket, pico de gallo, cilantro, herbed crema, $7.25 for two tacos
  • Carnitas: Beer-braised pork, pico de gallo, cilantro, herbed crema, $6.50 for two tacos
  • Veganos: Choice of vegan protein, pico de gallo, cilantro, herbed crema, $6.50 to $7.25 for two tacos
Agave & Rye has opened a location at Liberty Center in Liberty Township. The restaurant features a variety of tacos and large selection of tequilas and bourbons. This is their first location in Ohio. They have locations in Covington and Lexington in Kentucky. This is The Epic Taco with slab pork belly, apple slaw, pickled onion and rattlesnake sauce served here with Bourbon Peach Punch. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Agave & Rye has opened a location at Liberty Center in Liberty Township. The restaurant features a variety of tacos and large selection of tequilas and bourbons. This is their first location in Ohio. They have locations in Covington and Lexington in Kentucky. This is The Epic Taco with slab pork belly, apple slaw, pickled onion and rattlesnake sauce served here with Bourbon Peach Punch. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Agave & Rye

7125 Fountain View Drive, Liberty Twp. | 513-779-8226 | www.agaveandrye.com

I have had several meals at Agave & Rye in Liberty Center.

The first time I went there late last year, I was drawn in by the bright, playful decor and the open bar seats.

Their “epic tacos” are served on double-shelled tacos — one crunchy corn to provide the exterior protection and one soft flour (corn can be substituted) to hold all the goodies. A “love cushion” of refried borracho beans, queso or guacamole can be added between the two shells for $1 each. Adding to the epic nature of the taco are the creative ingredients and combinations.

The restaurant has 13 different protein options ranging from the chicken and beef you’d expect to butter-poached lobster, honey lacquered duck, mini crab cakes and peppercorn kangaroo.

On my last visit a few weeks ago, the Hell Ya ($6.50) made with crispy chicken, pineapple salsa, pimento cheese, chile BBQ jam, sweet and spicy bacon and sweet pickle relish and the California Dreamer ($7.50) made with pink peppercorn Mahi Mahi, street corn salad, fresh avocado, pickled red onion, chipotle sour cream and cilantro were quite satisfying.

Agave & Rye has opened a location at Liberty Center in Liberty Township. The restaurant features a variety of tacos and large selection of tequilas and bourbons. This is their first location in Ohio. They have locations in Covington and Lexington in Kentucky. Murals and colorful decor give you a lot to look at while dining. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Agave & Rye has opened a location at Liberty Center in Liberty Township. The restaurant features a variety of tacos and large selection of tequilas and bourbons. This is their first location in Ohio. They have locations in Covington and Lexington in Kentucky. Murals and colorful decor give you a lot to look at while dining. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

You can take them to go and eat them outside or, depending on your comfort level, opt for a spaced-out table or booth.

A new Dayton-area location is opening soon. The small chain based out of Covington, Ky. recently announced they will be opening a location on Troy’s Public Square at 2 N. Market St., where La Piazza Italian restaurant was formerly located until it shut down in early 2018 after 25 years in business.

ExploreAgave & Rye restaurant and bar coming to Troy’s town square

They offer an extensive list of both bourbons and tequilas with cocktails featuring juice that is freshly squeezed.

My colleague Mark Fisher reported that the Liberty Township location set a one-day sales record for the four-store chain on Saturday, Aug. 15, which likely has influenced the owners’ decision to continue on with their second Ohio location despite the pandemic restrictions restaurants are currently operating under.

All I know is their tacos will be closer to me, for which I am grateful.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of exciting outdoor spaces, new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.