Huahua's Taqueria Opens Today: We Get a First Bite

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After about a year of anticipation, Huahua's Taqueria opens today. The fast casual Chihuahua-themed restaurant opens today at 11 a.m. for lunch, serving up a menu of tacos, enchiladas, and a variety of sides.

When we interviewed chef/partner Todd Erickson two weeks ago, he said he couldn't wait to "tear the paper off the windows and open the front door". Now, he says, "it's great to see the sun shining into the restaurant. It's not me working in a test kitchen anymore. Now we can look out and people can look in. It's interactive and that's wonderful. We put the menu up in the marquee and the response from people walking by has been great. I've been getting the 'thumbs up' -- and we're not even open."

See also: Todd Erickson Walks Us Through Huahua's Taqueria

Short Order was invited to the restaurant's friends and family night on Friday, a traditional pre-opening that allows the restaurant to stage a "dress rehearsal" before paying customers walk through the doors. The threat of rain didn't damper the enthusiasm of the people who packed the outdoor tables. There was a steady line for tacos, margaritas, and nachos and, although there were some minor kinks to be ironed out, the orders were handled in a professional manner, servers were friendly, and the food was good and plentiful.

Walking into the restaurant, a chalk board welcomes you with a hearty "hola". You'll also find the taco of the day and margarita of the day listed there. Though the frozen margaritas ($8) aren't made with tequila (Huahua's doesn't have a full liquor license), the agave wine it's made with tastes like a near-double to its more potent spirit cousin. Huahua's also offers wine by the glass ($7), a large selection of Mexican beers by the bottle ($5 each); Mexican Coke ($2.49); and Jarritos ($2.49).

If your pup is waiting outside, grab a few complimentary doggie biscuits for him..or maybe a souvenir water dish ($5).

When was the last time you played with jumping beans?

Chef Erickson hand-curated a selection of about two dozen different hot sauces in all different levels of heat. Try some on your tacos and if you fall in love with a particular one, bottles are available for purchase at the counter.

Ten different tacos are available at $3.29 each. Choose from traditional flavors in the carnitas and pollo al pastor to new creations like the fried chicken with jalapeno cornbread, cabbage, and ancho ranch (pictured) and breakfast taco, which features cheesy eggs, pork, and green chili (and sounds like an awesome way to end a long night of partying on South Beach).

Carnivores will go for the carnitas taco with charred tomatillo salsa, radish, cilantro, and cotija or the BBQ short rib taco with pickled jalapeno and sweet heat cole slaw. Vegetarians will enjoy the guaco taco (grilled veggies, fried avocado, guacamole, and tofu crema) or the hongos majicos (charred mushrooms, grilled veggies, and tofu crema).

Start with basic nachos with queso blanco and cotija ($6.49), then add your choice of refried black beans, tomato, onion, pickled jalapeno, or cilantro. Hell, get all. We added short rib (additional $4) and sour cream (additional $1).

Mac and cheese in a Mexican restaurant? Yes, only here it's queso mac. Still creamy, cheesy, and soul-satisfying ($3.99).

If you still have room for dessert, there's funnel cake ($3.49), but we chose a light and fruity paleta ($2.99). Flavors rotate daily -- we had passion fruit and papaya. Huahua's is open from 11 a.m. - midnight Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. - 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is still finalizing their patio permit (which should be granted by this evening), but there's plenty of seating at the Haven patio -- open for Huahua's customers -- a few feet away.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

Follow Short Order on Facebook, on Twitter @Short_Order, and Instagram @ShortOrder.

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