CINCINNATI -- Tex-Mex restaurant Django Western Taco plans to open at its new Northside location at 4172 Hamilton Ave. on Aug. 22.
The chef-driven eatery has been closed since the end of June to prepare for its relocation from 4046 Hamilton Ave. Owner and chef Josh Campbell said the move was necessary to tighten operating expenses and position the restaurant for long-term success.
However, he said, it was an easy decision to stay in Northside.
"I really enjoy the area, and I want to be a part of this community," he said.
The new location will initially seat roughly 40 patrons, but Campbell plans to offer outside seating that will add around 30 more seats. Django will accept reservations.
The restaurant is in the process of getting its liquor license and will not offer alcoholic beverages initially. ("It's BYOB until we get our license," Campbell said.) However, there will be a selection of more upscale beverages such as cold-pressed juices, smoothies, nitrogen-infused green tea and coffee.
Django will continue to offer many of the menu items its customers have grown to love. Diners can expect to find favorites like fried chicken tacos, Django-style guacamole, queso chorizo and a number of vegetarian and vegan options.
A new lineup of tortas also will join the menu at the new location: lamb belly (peach, arugula, avocado, pickled onion, queso quesadilla, miso honey mustard); chilled shrimp (cucumber, cilantro, cabbage, avocado, tomato, lime Sriracha); and veggie (black beans, fried tomatillo, shaved broccoli, avocado, smoked chili beet jam).
Campbell said the new space has allowed him to develop small- and large-plate menu items. Small plates will include ham ribs (ham-cured baby back ribs, Valentina's hot sauce, finely chopped pickled vegetables and grilled lime) and "shrimp cocktail" (avocado, tomato, lime, horseradish, cucumber, red onion and saltine crackers).
"It's a spin on the classic shrimp cocktail," Campbell said.
New large plates will include blended burger steak, which consists of 75 percent ground beef and 25 percent sauteed chopped mushrooms. This menu item is a nod to the James Beard Foundation's Blended Burger Project, which strives to create healthier food that's also more sustainable.
"It leaves less of a carbon footprint," Campbell explained.
Django's blended burger steak is served with a house-made jalapeno cheddar English muffin, chipotle onion bacon jam, arugula, heirloom tomato and chili lime sea salt fries.
Also new is the vegan-friendly charred eggplant mushroom enchilada, which will be served with black rice, house-made cashew tortilla, tomatillo pinto bean puree and salsa rojo.
Two weeks into the opening, Campbell expects to expand Django's hours to include daily breakfast service at 8 a.m., as well as late-night dining on the weekends.
"The great thing about the building we have is we will have a walk-up taco window," he said. "The main dining room will be closed at 11, but people will be able to get walk-up tacos at the side of the building until 2 in the morning."
Django will offer guests full service for lunch and dinner but will turn to the faster counter service for breakfast.
"It'll be a quick in-and-out," Campbell said.
Campbell said he's excited for his new start.
"I am not in this to get rich," he said. "I'm blessed to be my own boss, and I'm just trying to make a living doing what I love."
Django Western Taco
Projected opening: Aug. 22
Address: 4172 Hamilton Ave., Northside.
Information: 513-542-3664 or online.
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday; brunch hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Grace Yek writes about food for WCPO Digital. She is a certified chef-de-cuisine with the American Culinary Federation, and a former chemical engineer. Questions or comments? Connect with her on Twitter: @Grace_Yek.