Taco restaurant to open at former Al’s Italian Beef site

Patrick Svitek

A premium taqueria offering “competitive and affordable” Mexican fare will open at the former site of Al’s Italian Beef, 622 Davis St., by the end of June, its future owner confirmed Tuesday evening.

Sam Vergos, who operates three other restaurants in Dallas he describes as Texan “institutions,” said Austin’s Tacos will distinguish itself from other downtown Evanston eateries with Mexican flare such as Taco Bell and Chipotle. He added the tentative menu consists of southwest grill-inspired items such as tacos, quesadillas and burritos.

A part-time Evanston resident and city native, Vergos said he began eying the vacant location – the anchor tenant of a four-story building owned by Davis Street Land Company – when Al’s Italian Beef moved out in early January. Leasing representative Jill Nolte estimated that realty acquisition occurred between two and three months after the previous tenant packed up.

“It was fairly quick,” she said. “It wasn’t too much downtime.”

Vergos attributed his site choice to a “good market” supported by a prestigious university. But he added he also selected Evanston because of his long-standing familiarity with his childhood hometown.

“That was certainly the main draw,” he said in reference to the University’s proximity, “but there’s a lot more there than that.”

Vergos also owns Original Market Diner and Circle Grill Restaurant in Dallas. A third Dallas property, a burger shop, is under construction, he said Tuesday