A Topeka favorite will return soon with a new name, a new look and the same great menu.
Following the closing of Taco Casa in Barrington Village at the end of December, Tiki Taco Shack will reopen in the same location at 5656 S.W. 29th St.
Owner Kevin Dunford purchased the restaurant after he visited with a friend and saw the for sale sign.
“My best friend loves Taco Casa, and I wanted to keep it alive. I’m just a business guy. I’m always looking for businesses for sale.”
Dunford owns other Topeka businesses, including Jayhawk Body Shop & Glass since 2013, and Paisano’s, which he purchased with a business partner in December 2021. He said that keeping local businesses thriving in the community is what drives him to invest in them.
“I like to save small businesses and keep people’s jobs,” said Dunford.
Taco Casa was open for 38 years in Barrington Village
Taco Casa had been operating in Barrington Village for 38 years before shutting its doors last month. Three of the employees that worked at Taco Casa are making the move with Dunford to the new restaurant, and he said he’s happy to have their experience during the transition.
In addition to the name change, there will be some cosmetic changes to the business with a new design, a larger dining area, and a beach theme. Some of the work will be ongoing as the restaurant opens to the public.
“That’s where the Tiki name comes from,” said Dunford. “An environment that takes you to the beach. There will be bamboo and bright, Caribbean colors.”
The menu itself will stay largely unchanged according to Dunford, serving classic favorites like burritos, tacos, tostados, nachos, sanchos, enchiladas, and con queso.
“There are so many people worried it will be a different business, but it will be the same food with some additions. We’re going to keep it the same, but add to it. We’re hoping to bring some Caribbean flavor into it.”
New additions will include salsa bar
Dunford said he plans to incorporate a salsa bar with options like pineapple mango salsa and other fruit-inspired flavors. The original menu board, which has been part of the restaurant since it opened in 1984, will probably see an upgrade, but Dunford is looking for ways to incorporate it into the décor and preserve the history behind it.
“There’s so much history to it,” he said. “I love history. It’s all about small businesses and local businesses.”
Many locally owned restaurants in recent years have centralized around Topeka’s downtown area, while the Wanamaker corridor continues to attract corporate chains. Dunford believes that Tiki Taco Shack’s location in West Topeka is an attribute for that very reason.
“I would love to see more of that come to this side of town.”
The anticipated reopening date for Tiki Taco Shack is by early February.
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Tiki Taco Shack to open at Taco Casa site with remodel, similar menu