The joint finally has a name and an opening date.
Naked Taco, formerly known as "Ralph Pagano's Yet-Unamed Mexican Joint," is set to open Friday, February 21 -- just in time for South Beach Wine & Food Festival attendees and celebrity chefs to seek refuge from the elements and enjoy a few tacos before resuming their days and nights at various tents and parties.
Pagano, who owns Alba Seaside Italian in Sunny Isles, struggled to come up with a name for his Mexican restaurant before asking for help via a contest. The name "Naked Taco" resulted from that contest, with Rusty Johnson, the owner of the food truck Passion BBQ, coming up with the name.
Naked Taco will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Breakfast items include a hangover-worthy huevos rancheros and Nutella pancakes, which are sure to gain a cult following.
The focus of lunch and dinner turns to tacos, with each variety served in a choice of hard corn, soft corn, or soft flour tortilla. There's also a lettuce wrap option, "the first no-carb taco... and the namesake of my restaurant: the naked taco," Pagano says.
Taco options include pork carnitas, carne asada, frilled chicken Vallarta, Key West shrimp, Korean barbecue short rib, crispy Baja fish, fried chicken, green eggs and ham, and verdura (vegetables).
Naked Taco will also offer Taco Tuesdays, when, Pagano says, "You buy the margaritas; I'll buy the tacos. Period."
The restaurant's Bar Mañana is a coffee bar where customers can go for a café con leche fix or a Mexican coffee laced with tequila and Kahlúa.
Bar Noche is all about the margarita. Featuring 30 tequilas and mezcals, the bar offers classic margaritas, tequila infusions, and specialty margaritas like the Spanish Fly, Midnight Train to Mexico, Pineapple Express, and the Skinny (which contains less than 125 calories, for those of you planning to worship the sun after lunch). Sangria is also available.
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The chef, always up for a party, promises great music, cool vibes, and good tacos, noting each of his tacos are "two bites of perfection."
Naked Taco is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week: Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.