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Taco stand nears end of extended prep time

Mark Robinson June 28, 2013 19
En Su Boca (Photo by Mark Robinson)

En Su Boca is set to open within weeks at 1001 N. Boulevard. (Photo by Mark Robinson)

After more than a year of renovations, an old Boulevard porn shop’s transformation into a taquería is still a work in progress.

But Patrick Stamper and Randy O’Dell, owners of En Su Boca, say the restaurant is only a few weeks away from opening in the former Triangle Book Store at 1001 N. Boulevard.

The pair, who also own BellyTimber Tavern in the Fan, took over the 1,300-square-foot Boulevard space last year.

Charlie Diradour, whose Lion’s Paw Development purchased the property in late 2011 for $225,000, said the structure needed new flooring, walls and electrical components. The development has cost about $350,000, he said.

“I’ve had a lot of people on the streets come up and ask me ‘when will I be able to eat a taco?’ You know, just wait and you’ll be able to eat a taco,” Diradour said.

The building was a Texaco gas station in the 1950s, and became the Triangle Book Store in the 1970s. The book store closed in 2011.

En Su Boca passed its electrical inspection with the city and underwent gas and mechanical inspections on Friday, Stamper said.

If all goes well with the final inspection, they’ll apply for a health permit, ABC license and a certificate of occupancy, he said.

The pair’s third partner in En Su Boca, San Francisco-based chef Eric Stangarone, is flying to Richmond this week to fire up the burners. Still, Stamper said it would be a few weeks before the restaurant opens.

When it does, he expects a boost from visitors to the nearby Redskins training camp facility, Squirrels fans on their way to and from the Diamond, and workers gutting the old Interbake building behind the restaurant.

Diradour says the restaurant will be worth the wait.

“These guys have done it the absolute right way,” he said. “Patrick and Randy have not missed a beat. There’s been a lot of anticipation about this place opening up, but sometimes good things take a while.”

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19 Comments »

  1. Jackson July 1, 2013 at 7:59 am - Reply

    I can’t wait for this place to open!

  2. Lesley July 1, 2013 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Seriously? This is the name……BWAHAHAHAHAHHA

    • Jay July 1, 2013 at 9:50 am - Reply

      Perfect, right? LOL

  3. dave July 1, 2013 at 9:57 am - Reply

    Disgusting

  4. Kathy Albers July 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    I really don’t know if I would eat in that building, because of the previous tenant. The porn bookstore was there since I moved to Richmond 30 years ago and it’s biggest draw (I was told) was the private video rooms.

  5. Charlie Diradour July 1, 2013 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Kathy;
    Please note that as the developer I want to assure you that all flooring, walls, and ceilings were removed and new finishes placed due to our thorough manner of building. I was as concerned about the issues you raise as you are, but I assure you that this is not the same building we purchased. Hope to see you at En Su Boca.
    Charlie

  6. 27161wgs July 1, 2013 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Very excited to see this place open!!!

  7. glen allen July 1, 2013 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    Can’t wait to check it out!

  8. Mary Eggleston July 2, 2013 at 8:39 am - Reply

    I am hoping that the picture above is new, and someone has already addressed the issue I’m about to discuss. I’ve had a question that has been driving me crazy every time I pass by the place, and that is: Who approved the exterior paint job? TACO’S was clearly painted above the entrance, apostrophe and all. Unless the full name of the restaurant is “Taco’s En Su Boca Taqueria” and your chef or owner’s name is Taco, please fix this problem before opening – if you haven’t already. If you have already fixed this, THANK YOU. It’s ridiculous enough to have a taco joint in a former porn shop named “In your mouth,” so for the sake of your business, I hope you take everything else about it seriously.

  9. Mike Jasp July 2, 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply

    This may not be fair, but I think it’s reality. Others can chime in. This place should distance itself from any association with sex, porn, or anything even remotely having to do with the old spot. Yes, it was more than a bookstore. There were “25 cent” peeps shows, where as someone else has mentioned, are little porn viewing booths for the dirtiest of humans to enter into and …welll…you know.

    Taking this fact and making what the owners think are humorous associations whether that be by menu item names, the name of the place, or other visual queues such as the 25 cents, in my opinion is a bad business decision if that is what is going on (dont know if they think its a tributenor just funny or something else).

    I wish them well but I think they should seriously consider whether they want to have reminders around their customers that the place used to be a dirty little shack where men pleasured themselves in booths. Think about it…do you need to queue up that conversation at your tables….?

    It reminds me a little bit of the swinging steak episode at blowtoad….but that was much less offensive to a customer eating food (unless of course you were unknowingly eating the “steak”) but again, in my opinion.

    Good luck guys I hope you make the right moves and your business is a success!

  10. sean July 2, 2013 at 10:23 am - Reply

    “TACO’s” is an homage to the sic-situation caused by the porn shop’s “MOVIE’S” banner that was there before. Again, they were drawing from the building’s past.

  11. Dudley July 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    Call me crazy, but if a pun name and a history as a porno shop makes you not want to eat there, I don’t think you’re the target demo.

    • CJ July 3, 2013 at 8:50 am - Reply

      well said…

      • Jim Stark July 3, 2013 at 9:56 pm - Reply

        Well said if you are clueless about “demos” to food service businesses….and you think your like-kind folks are will support the business and the owners profit…..which is what the owner uses to put food on his table.

  12. Mike Jasp July 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    @Dudley I spend a lot of money in local food joints each week with my family and friends. I/we also love tacos. Im pretty sure that is a demo an owner would be interested in, whether or not I thought the tribute to the history made me queezy or not.

    More importantly I was clearly stating an opinion that folks would not want a constant reminder that the building’s primary purpose was for men to pleasure themselves in it. Call me crazy for having that opinion.

    I gave the swinging steak example another strange one was Friend or Pho….people got so offended by the idea that the owners didn’t know how to properly pronounce pho…it ended up being a social media riot….but then I think the food was bad also and Im confident these guys will put out great food.

    Also, I will go to En Su. Never said I wouldn’t. Maybe im not a cool hipster Dudley but the history doesn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth. :)

    If i were making the marketing and presentation decisions, I would remove any connection to the old self-pleasure-yourself booths….but that is just my opinion….cool, hip, or otherwise…

    MJ

  13. rob h July 3, 2013 at 7:37 am - Reply

    charlie
    welcome to the neighborhood. i know the folks in my new apartments at Interbake are going to be frequent customers and i appreciate all your efforts to re-brand and clean up the boulevard. this is the future hub of richmond!!!!!

  14. Chris July 3, 2013 at 8:34 am - Reply

    I, for one, kind of like that they’re being faithful to the history of the building. From what I’ve seen, they’ve taken it back to the original use as a garage, and the only reference to the porn shop is the name (which would be a food reference were you not hung up on semantics). IMHO we too often renovate/rehab and erase our past. This is a great example of using the past as a symbol of progress.

  15. Jess July 5, 2013 at 9:34 am - Reply

    I tend to agree with @MikeJasp…it’s just a little creepy to refer to 25 cent tacos on a former porn shop. That being said…I drove by there the other day and it looks like the old 25cent references are gone and it just says “En Su Boca.” Perhaps I didn’t see it clearly as I was driving, but I’m pretty sure it was changed. If so, I applaud the owners for listening.

  16. Sara July 8, 2013 at 8:40 am - Reply

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned that their name also completely rips off the Boka taco truck. “In your mouth” / “Takos for your mouf!”

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