Toro’s takes the town
Modern taqueria hopes to add youthful vibe to Corner eateries
Who doesn’t like tacos? JR Hadley, owner of the new Corner eatery Toro’s Tacos would say the answer is a resounding “no one.” Located at 1327 W. Main St., at the former Baja Bean Co. location, Toro’s aims to bring modern Mexican food to the collegiate masses.
Though the restaurant has only been open for three weeks, Hadley — who is also the restaurant’s manager — is an experienced entrepreneur on the Corner. Along with Toro’s, he also co-owns Boylan Heights. A Charlottesville native, Hadley hopes his past expertise and new ideas will combine to make his most recent venture a success.
Modeled off the Charleston restaurant “Taco Boy,” Toro’s will focus its culinary efforts on crafting simple tacos and innovative drinks.
“I thought it was a super unique concept — authentic tacos, but done in a very cool and hip way,” Hadley said. “It’s simple — kind of how they do it in California and Mexico.”
The place differs from a typical cantina, lacking the requisite cheap vinyl table covers, sticky chairs and blasting mariachi music. Instead, Toro’s Tacos features effortlessly cool Aztec-style décor, with both modern booths and popular music. Upon entrance, the space feels open and lively — the perfect balance of casual and sit-down restaurant style.
Toro’s also guarantees exclusively fresh ingredients, purchased from local vendors on West Main Street. Tacos start with homemade corn or flour tortillas and are skillfully prepared fresh — each for about $4. Meat options include slow-braised brisket, slow-roasted pork and classic chicken. The appetizers list includes fresh guacamole, salsa and warm queso dip. All in all, the menu satisfies any and all Mexican cravings.
“If you’re not trying to break the bank and you want something really good and really good for you, come here,” Hadley said.
Naturally, with its prime Corner location, the restaurant is looking to cater mostly to students. With a youthful vibe and simple menu, Toro’s hopes to become a local hotspot sooner rather than later. The freshly-squeezed, all-natural margaritas could help with that.
“The pulse of Toro’s Tacos will definitely be set by the students,” Hadley said. “The students are in our backyard, so we want this to be a student-driven clientele [while still catering] to the whole city.”
Although the Corner’s competitive business environment is no secret, Hadley also describes a mutual desire for prosperity on the Corner as a whole.
“We’re all in it, trying to get the Corner back to where it used to be,” Hadley said. “Everything should be at the Corner — this is the heartbeat of the Charlottesville network.”