Bandido Taqueria Mexicana will open a second Louisville location in this space adjacent to Falls City Brewing Co.’s taproom. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

The marriage of beer and tacos never disappoints. With that in mind, Falls City Brewing Co. announced it will partner with Bandido Taqueria Mexicana to bring food to its new brewery complex on Liberty Street.

Bandido, which first opened in Louisville in 2016 near the University of Louisville, will open a second location in a space next door to Falls City’s taproom. Customers will be able to order at a point-of-sale at Bandido, take a number, then go into the taproom or beer garden where their food will be delivered.

Bandido is expected to open in spring or summer of 2019.

Falls City marketing manager Brian U’Sellis said adding an exclusive food partner was the plan all along when the brewery opened in the spring, and brewery management met with several possible partners. Falls City wanted a thriving local partner, and Bandido simply felt like the right fit, he said.

By next summer, Falls City customers will be able to enjoy Mexican fare from Bandido in the taproom. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

“It’s a cool concept, and it’s different,” he explained. “It’s what we’re missing still. I just believe you can never have too many tacos.”

“It will be a welcome addition,” added Falls City President Shane Uttich.

Bandido originated in San Diego in 1974 as a family business. It has expanded to multiple locations in that market and only opened in Louisville when owner Jerry Ochoa moved here upon receiving advice from a friend that Louisville would be a welcoming market.

Ochoa, whose wife, Adriana, is a co-owner, was the first to take the concept outside of the San Diego area.

“I was born into the business,” he said. “I was kind of the first brave one to leave the family and get out of my comfort zone. Louisville has been really good to us.”

The restaurant serves California-style Mexican fare, from street tacos to burritos to nachos, focusing on fresh ingredients. It’s also well-known for its salsa bar, which will be a staple of the new location, along with $1.99 taco Tuesdays.

Ochoa said the menu at the new location will be almost exactly like the first Louisville restaurant’s, but with a few year-round additions such as menudo and a chili Verde burrito that previously had been seasonal.

In the exclusive partnership, Falls City will not serve food nor will food trucks be employed, and Bandido will not serve beer. The design is planned to be similar to the one West Sixth Brewing shares with Smithtown Seafood at West Sixth’s Lexington brewery complex.

“We couldn’t have dreamed up a better combination,” Ochoa said, adding he would like to hire at least another 15 employees to help run the 2,200-square-foot restaurant.

The new location of Bandido Taqueria Mexicana will have the signature salsa bar. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

U’Sellis said a bonus in the partnership comes with the fact Bandido has a buzz about it as one of the hotter taquerias in town, meaning it will be a destination on its own, doubling the draw. Plans are still being discussed, but U’Sellis said Falls City’s taproom hours will expand to match those of Bandido, meaning lunch hours are highly possible when the restaurant opens.

U’Sellis said the goal is for any given customer to be able to come in for a beer and a meal for about $10 or $12.

In addition, next year, a local startup coffee shop will open next door to Bandido. Katie Marie Photographie already occupies one storefront in the block-long complex, and the plan is to open two more in addition to the coffee shop, turning the old building, which originally served as a taxi company, into a retail complex of sorts.

“The addition of Bandido will really help build out the perfect experience for our guests,” said U’Sellis. “It’s an extension of who we are now.”

Kevin Gibson covers everything from food to music to beer to bourbon. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono (pissed her off a little, too). Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he co-hosts a local radio show and plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies. Check out his blog, 502Brews.com, or feel free to call him names on Twitter: @kgramone.


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