By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Oct 04, 2018 at 1:30 PM

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The taco craze continues, birthing yet another option for taco lovers Downtown ...  and just in time for National Taco Day. That’s thanks to a plan to bring new life to the former Peking House space at 782 N. Jefferson St.

The venue, which was leased last February by Mazen Muna, owner of numerous area businesses including five Dog House restaurants and Plum lounge, has been divided into two distinct spaces with a shared commissary kitchen. One space will house a new location for the Jefferson Street Dogg House. The other accommodates Muna’s newest concept: Taco Bar. 

The new concept, which melds an upscale bar vibe with a casual taco menu, is open for lunch today, with hours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (a soft opening, if you will). However, Muna says extended hours are expected to be implemented soon.

Taking look around the space, you’ll see a beautiful 12-15 seat bar, decked out in decorative tile with a back bar created by Milwaukee Wood & Iron featuring a gorgeous metal tree sculpture that’s backlit in blue.

Elements are modern and rustic, featuring slate-look floor tiles and wood-grain ceramic tile on the walls.

You’ll also find whimsical menu boards featuring the restaurant’s listing of nearly 20 tacos, neatly divided into categories including beef, chicken, fish, pork and vegetable.

Tacos are priced in the $3.50-5.50 range. There are also sides – including elote en vaso, black beans, chips and guacamole and tortilla soup – priced $3.49 to $5.25.

Pictured is the green goddess taco with fried avocado, spinach, chipotle aioli, cotija cheese and avocado crema ($3.75); Cubano with citrus-brined pork shoulder, shaved honey ham, Swiss cheese, dijon drizzle and pickles ($4.25); and carne asada with flank steak, onions and cilantro ($4.50).

In addition to tacos, Taco Bar will also showcase a number of craft beers and Argentinian wines, along with a curated menu of Latin-inspired cocktails – think margaritas, sangria, Pisco sours and daiquiris – developed by Plum Lounge bar manager JC Cunningham. There’s also plenty of tequila, with high-end selections displayed on the sculpture behind the bar.

Muna says plans are still fluid, but extended hours will be implemented soon. Tentative hours are likely to be Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.