A popular “funky” taco restaurant has opened its fifth location in Square Shopping Center in Simpsonville — in a former karate center.
Willy Taco is known for its casual dining concept, serving fresh and funky, chef-driven twists on tacos, tortas and additional Mexican fusion food and drink items, with more than 80 tequila and mezcal offerings, domestic and craft beer and unique margaritas and cocktail choices.
Willy Taco is a part of Hub City Hospitality, which has a total of seven restaurants, the other two being The Flock Shop, which is a Nashville-style hot chicken restaurant on Pine Street in Spartanburg, and The Fr8 Yard, an outdoor beer garden and social gathering hub, with live music five-to-six days a week and jumbotron TV in downtown Spartanburg.
Other Upstate Willy Taco locations include on Laurens Road in Greenville, Easley, Boiling Springs and Spartanburg.
President of Hub City Hospitality Chris Olson said the new Willy Taco location at 129 N. Main St. in Simpsonville maintains the same menu as the others, but each of its restaurants has its own personality.
“We like to breathe life into old spaces,” said Olson. “This was an opportunity where we wanted to keep the style of the former karate space while turning it into a cool and funky restaurant. We fell in love with the space as soon as we saw it.”
One thing the hospitality group loves about the space is its industrial and rustic themes, which holds true to their other restaurants, said Olson.
“This space definitely allowed us to maintain the original finish it has with what was already there,” he added. “We added some of our own style, like a VHS wall with nearly 500 VHS tapes, karate-themed wall with trophies, and a mural inspired by the Karate Kid movie, which people are enjoying. So, there is lots to look at when you’re in there, even though it is industrial-themed.”
Olson said two things for Hub City when opening a new restaurant is being able to share what it loves in new communities through food and cocktails while also providing opportunities for more than 100 people to employe with each one, with the ability for existing teams to explore new leadership opportunities.
When asked if the hospitality group has any other restaurants concepts in mind, Olson said not at this time, as they are looking forward to continuing to focus on its existing restaurants.