The first brick-and-mortar location for Rock Paper Taco is still a couple of weeks away from opening, but owner Josh Duke is already making plans for a second restaurant and eventually looking toward a third one.
Rock Paper Taco got its start as a food truck in 2018 and is set to open a location at 166 W. Chimes St. in about two weeks.
Duke has signed a lease for the former Shrimp Basket building at 7242 Perkins Road and hopes to open a Rock Paper Taco restaurant in there by early June. It’s near his first restaurant, the craft cocktail heavy Olive or Twist.
“I’ve wanted that location for a long time,” he said of the Perkins Road location. McAlister’s Deli moved out of the building in December 2015, three months after Duke signed a new lease for Olive or Twist in the Perkins Palms development. “It would have been awesome.”
The 4,200-square-foot building has been vacant since June 2019, when Shrimp Basket closed both of its Baton Rouge restaurants.
The menu will be the same at both restaurants, with a mixture of traditional tacos containing barbacoa, carne asada and pork carnitas and different items, such as tacos with Nashville hot fried oysters, chicken and waffles, and buffalo chicken. All of the tacos will be served on made from scratch tortillas.
The bar at both restaurants will be tequila heavy, with a focus on margaritas.
But the larger Perkins Road location will allow Duke to have an expanded bar, with more beer taps and frozen cocktail machines. And the main form of ordering will be self-serve kiosks to better serve workers in the Bluebonnet-Essen-Perkins medical corridor. “People want an in-and-out experience,” he said.
About half of the space in the Perkins restaurant is taken up by the kitchen, so Duke may use it as a commissary for his other properties. For example, salsa might be made at the location and then sent to Olive or Twist and the Chimes Street Rock Paper Taco.
About 45 people will work at the new restaurant, which will open at 7 a.m.