By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jul 23, 2020 at 4:20 PM Photography: Lori Fredrich

There’s a new taco spot in the works for the former Burgerim restaurant at 1001 N. Old World Third St., just blocks away from Fiserv Forum.

Taco Mike’s is the name of the new fast casual concept headed up by Chef Mike Holz, the executive chef for the Brunch restaurants Downtown and in Brookfield. And, if all goes well, it could be up and running for lunch and dinner service by mid-August.

The restaurant, which will serve a simple menu of tacos – with fillings like braised meats (carnitas and barbacoa), chorizo, shrimp and tilapia – along with sides like Mexican rice, braised beans, chips, salsa and guacamole.

"I’ve always loved eating and making tacos, and over the years I’ve accumulated lots of ideas and recipes," says Holz, noting that his rendition of al pastor, made with ground pork and pineapple, is among his favorites on the menu. "It’s about being somewhat traditional, but with an emphasis on fun."

Holz says the menu will be entirely gluten-free and augmented by a simple beverage program of beer, frozen margaritas and tequila shots, along with popsicles for dessert.

Holz says the service model will be built for easy carry-out and will use low-touch systems like QR codes and online ordering, even for dine-in guests who can order right from their phones and have the food delivered directly to their tables.

"Ever since services like UberEats and DoorDash launched delivery to peoples’ homes, I’ve always thought it would be great to have a service that did the same thing in a restaurant, only delivering right to the diner’s table."

Holz says the COVID-19 pandemic has made the use of technology more prevalent, but that for fast casual concepts like his, it’s the next logical step.

"The timing was perfect for launching something like this," says Holz, who also credits current circumstances with making it easier to find a high-traffic location for his first restaurant. "I’ve been looking at locations for a couple of years now, and it was always my dream to have a place Downtown, somewhere with good foot traffic that can service a late night crowd."

Enter Burgerim, the short-lived slider-based restaurant which renovated the location at Old World Third and State Street, but closed after less than a year in business.

Holz says it provided the perfect location for the concept, along with a relatively turn-key operation.

"They did a really nice job on the space," he says. "So we’re looking at a few coats of paint and some relatively minor changes."

Those changes include bright, festive colors on the walls, the installation of a small bar with high top seating for about four. The large screen television in the space, he says, will be used to broadcast sports games for patrons.

Holz says he’s also planning for patio seating on State Street and – further down the road – he’d like to convert the front windows into operable garage doors to allow for open air dining.

Once open, Taco Mike’s will serve lunch and dinner and late night eats Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Carry-out and delivery will also be available through DoorDash.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.