Coastal Taco Opens Friday in the Flats

Quick update: Coastal Tacos is opening Friday just in time for all the glorious Memorial Day weekend festivities and Scene's three-day Taste of Summer event in the Flats. Tacos!


(Original story 5/8/16): Rick Doody, who along with brother Chris founded the Brio Bravo Restaurant Group, has gotten back to what he loves doing most: developing new restaurant concepts. His Cedar Creek Grille at La Place is still a relative newcomer at just over three years old and by the end of this month he’ll unveil his latest creation: Coastal Taco Bar + Chill (1146 Old River Rd.).

For the past seven months construction has been taking place on the single-story freestanding building on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. While not at all trouble-free, the project should be completed in time for the May 27 opening day. When the paint does dry, diners can look forward to a bar-focused restaurant with a seafood-heavy menu built around tacos, tamales and margaritas.

click to enlarge Coastal Taco Opens Friday in the Flats
RSA Architects
“It’s only a 4,500-square-foot building, but it’s pretty complex construction; the patio is actually cantilevered out over the river,” Doody explains.

Yes, you read that right: the patio will be cantilevered out over the river.

In season, more activity will be taking place outside than in. Indoors will accommodate approximately 175 diners, while the expansive terrace with inside-outside bar will hold an additional 280. The waterside setting will be furnished with plenty of soft-seating options and equipped with fire pits, tiki torches and patio heaters.

“We don’t want to be a huge restaurant, we just want to be a great little restaurant serving great tacos and great margaritas,” adds Doody.

As for the food, Doody describes it as quick-serve and casual, with Latin and Caribbean-themed food that goes heavy on the fish and seafood tacos. Soft corn tortillas will be filled with everything from braised short rib to blue cod. Others will be stuffed with mahi-mahi, swordfish, crispy shrimp and fried oysters. But this is not a build-your-own taco concept, stresses Doody.

“There are a lot of different combinations of tacos. We have a different salsa or slaw going on each taco.”

Also on the bill of fare are tamales filled with chicken, grilled steak skewers and loads of chips and salsa. Margaritas will be made with fresh-squeezed lime and there will be plenty of cold Mexican cervesa to wash it all down.

“The décor is a big part of the concept,” Doody notes. “It’s very laid-back, with a beachy hip vibe. Being on the water serves itself well for that lake life.”

Doody envisions the crowds evolving with the days and hours. During the day on weekends, families might pop in with their children. Later on, more millennial and young adults might settle in. DJs could provide entertainment late into the evening on weekends.

“The beauty of the concept is that it caters to a lot of different groups throughout the day,” he says. “The concepts that are super-successful today have a lot of transfer from one group to the next.”

While there was talk of a La Place Center location for Coastal Taco, Doody says that deal is dead. But if all goes as planned, taco fans on both sides of town might soon see one of these in their own neighborhoods.

“We would do one east and one west fairly quickly,” says Doody. “We try to keep it rolling.” 

About The Author

Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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