Dining With Denise Neil

Owners of about-to-open restaurant were the big winners at Saturday’s Wichita Taco Fest

The big winners at Saturday’s Wichita Taco Fest were three young chefs who are about to open a new taco restaurant in Wichita.

Wichita Local Eats, made up of chefs Carlos Vera, Myranda Miller and Jason Rickard, announced on Friday that later this month they would be opening Taco Locale, a small taco restaurant, in the Revolutsia shipping container mall at Central and Volutsia.

Then on Saturday, a panel of judges named their taco the best in a blind tasting of 19 competitors at the Wichita Taco Fest, an event in its third year that drew a big crowd to Old Cowtown Museum.

The Taco Locale group prepared a taco on a blue corn tortilla filled with braised organic beef, sweet corn, corn mayo, cotija cheese, arbol chili and a charred lime. The panel of judges, on which I served, gave it the highest score. Second place went to Taco Pina.

People stood in long lines on Saturday to sample $1 tacos at the Wichita Taco Fest. Denise Neil The Wichita Eagle

We also gave awards for best salsa. Tacos Pina took first, and Emerson Biggin’s was second.

The event, now in its third year, drew big crowds to the venue on a hot and humid afternoon. People stood in long lines to get $1 tacos and also sampled tequila and sipped on margaritas.

Taco Locale is set to open on Aug. 30 on the lower level of Revolutsia, in the southwest corner between Boards and Azteka Botique. It will serve the same type of tacos that Vera has been preparing for his pop-ups at Pinole Blue, 242 N. Cleveland, where he has been feeding people in the parking lot every other Friday since February.

The tacos are made using locally and regionally sourced meats and veggies.

Denise Neil has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about dining.