How it all started
The original Taco Flats came to life during Austinʼs first booming period in the late 1970s, developing quite the reputation as an infamous local hangout. You could always find a friend inside, and entertainment was guaranteed. As an active participant in Austinʼs famous music scene, Taco Flats provided a stage for the likes of Gary P. Nunn, Blaze Foley, Calvin Russell, and Townes Van Zandt, just to name a few. And if there wasnʼt live music, there was a crowd cheering on a jalapeno eating contest, or maybe an (unofficial) drinking contest. The calmer days were spent simply sharing cheap beer with good company. No matter what, Taco Flats was the place to party and it was always open to everyone. But like all great parties, it had to come to an end when Taco Flats shook off its hangover and closed up shop in October 1981.
Simon Madera, a local small business owner and entrepreneur, originally sought to open a local neighborhood bar on Burnet Road; something he thought the budding area lacked. Research led him to previous Taco Flats owner, Linda Steele, who introduced him to their once-great institution and the legend of her late husband, “Cozzmic Carl” Steele.
Months after speaking with Linda, who purchased the local dive from Hector Alvarado, the original owner of Hectorʼs Taco Flats, Simon received a phone call from the taco man himself. They met, they talked and although from totally different generations both happen to have a lot in common. They both grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, both aspired to do special business endeavors, and both love to entertain guest. Simon felt that meeting the latter owner and the original founder of this great institution was an even bigger inspiration to move the project along. It wasnʼt long before Madera decided that Taco Flats should see another successful run in the city that deserved it most. Taco Flats is for everyone, but especially those who remember what Austin used to be and those who have high hopes for what it can become.