Latin Burger and Taco's Coral Gables Restaurant: A Sneak Peek

The year is promising to be a great one for the Miami restaurant scene, with dozens of new restaurants offering everything from Thai street food (NaiYaRa) to French bistro fare with a twist (L'Echon Brasserie).

One of the first restaurants to welcome in the baby new year is Latin Burger & Taco. This is the first brick-and-mortar version of the famous pink-and-black Miami food truck that roams the streets while dishing out succulent burgers and tasty tacos (but don't worry -- the truck will still be rolling out).

Latin Burger & Taco is scheduled to softly open at the beginning of next week on Coral Gables' Miracle Mile. Even with the tony address, owner Jim Heins assured Short Order that the price of a meal will remain under $10.

Heins gave Short Order a sneak peek at the spot as he described the décor and some changes to the menu.

Heins said he wanted to keep the feel of the food truck, which is emblazoned with Texas longhorns and bright-pink flames. Walls at the restaurant are covered with pop-art portraits of famous figures -- all eating burgers. Of course, there are horns gracing the walls. Heins explains, "The décor still has the truck flair, because we're still Latin Burger and we have to be true to our roots -- that's why we have the horns on the wall. But we've added other touches, like the portraits and booths upholstered in real skin. We want people to feel comfortable while they're eating here."

Heins also hired an executive chef with experience at upscale Mexican restaurants to tweak and expand the taco selection. "I know we have the best burger in Miami; now we're going for the best taco," he says.

The restaurateur/food truck entrepreneur recently did some hands-on taco research himself. Heins told Short Order that he flew to Texas to eat as many tacos as he could. "I went to about 45 different places. Right about now, I look like a taco. I tried upscale restaurants and little street stands," he said. "After all that, I learned that it's all about working with fresh ingredients and putting love into the food. That's what we're aiming for."

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