Tacos are good. Breakfast tacos are arguably better. But breakfast tacos delivered straight to your door? That's the tantalizing prospect the just-launched Republic Taco wants to capitalize on.
"This is an idea we've been kicking around for quite some time," said Chris Svetlik, the co-owner of Republic Kolache who's now trying to do with breakfast tacos what he did with the Texan stuffed pastry. "If you grew up in Texas," as Svetlik did, "you kind of bemoan the lack of them in D.C."
Popular in such cities as Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Tex-Mex breakfast tacos are often sold at eateries that also serve lunch and dinner, Svetlik said. The unifying factor: eggs, frequently with other fillings such as cheese or beans.
And, yes, all the tacos from Republic come in flour tortillas, which collaborating chef Quinten Frye of Dacha Beer Garden knows is a dividing issue. In the more than 20 years he lived in the Lone Star State, "Every single breakfast taco I ever ate was on a flour tortilla," he said. (It's hard to see how corn tortillas would hold up in a delivery setting anyway.)
Naturally, these tacos were something the Going Out Guide team had to try. For you.
The Republic Taco menu includes seven tacos split into two categories: sencillo ("simple and hearty") and de lujo ("something a little special," or deluxe). All are $3 or $4, and with a group of eager eaters, ordering all seven didn't seem too unreasonable. What the UberEats delivery guy thought may be another matter.
Despite the estimated 31 to 42 minute turnaround, the order arrived in just over 15 minutes, piping hot, if with a little grease leaking through the bag.
Opening the foil-wrapped tacos released a bit more grease from some of them -- one taster suggested it was the kind of oily-yet-tasty situation you might run into were you cooking after over-imbibing.
It was an apt description. Our favorites tended to be the tacos that were lighter on fat, particularly the bean and cheese and the migas (scrambled eggs with fried tortilla strips). In truth, we liked them all, and the zesty salsas -- a red tomatoes-based one and a green tomatillos-based one -- went a long way toward cutting through the fat and richness.
Frye's house-made maple-habanero sausage and chorizo each star in their own taco, and both contributed an appreciated spice. The brisket and egg taco features smoked meat from Hill Country, where Republic Kolache has been popping up after closing up shop at Union Market.
For now, the tacos are available Tuesday through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. on UberEats, whose $4.99 delivery fee is, of course, more than any of the tacos. The delivery model allows Svetlik to test the concept and reach more people who might not have time to trek to one particular pop-up location. He expects to eventually expand the number of days, as well as add limited evening service. Also look out for the tacos to be served late-night at Dacha in Shaw.
Svetlik said he's been scouting the area for a permanent retail location, where he can unite the kolache and taco operations under one roof.