Tacos should be their own food group. That is a belief held by fans of the handheld food worldwide. And they take on a life of their own at Taco Works restaurants in Fort Myers and Cape Coral. The Southwest Florida dining establishments refer to their tacos as “purposely unauthentic.” Co-owner Ozzie Morrobel explains, “There are so many places locally that do great, authentic Mexican tacos, and we support them regularly. But we wanted to do something different.”
The kind of tacos you’ll find at Morrobel and partner Max Curtis’ Taco Works have an international flair. They offer two classic street tacos with traditional ingredients such as cilantro, lettuce, onion, cheese and a variety of meat. However, it is the other worldly flavors that customers rave about.
Taco Works creations include 12 signatures and a daily special covering lots of territory. Everything from Asian to African, European and Americana inspired flavors. The Korean Beef Taco is one example, and it is Morrobel’s favorite. It’s made with tender, juicy braised beef and a sweet and savory Korean barbeque sauce. The meat is topped with shredded cabbage, cilantro, onions and a spicy ginger glaze.
Curtis’ favorite is Chicago Beef Taco. It is their take on a classic Chicago beef sandwich, just in a taco. The highlight is spicy giardiniera pepper mix. It’s topped with white cheese.
That Ziki is inspired by Greek cuisine. “It’s so unique,” Morrobel says. “You won’t find anything like it anywhere in Southwest Florida.” The chicken taco is topped with housemade pickled cucumbers and Tzatziki sauce. It’s cool, refreshing and a great accompaniment to any of the spicier tacos on the menu.
Daily specials are at the whim of the season, the weather and the chefs. “Max and I love being creative,” Morrobel says. Take for instance their Crab Rangoon Taco, created with a special wonton shell instead of the traditional flour tortilla.
All tacos come in six-inch tortilla shells, which are bigger than those typically served in restaurants. “We like to say that one is a tease, two are enough and three are for when you are really hungry,” he says with a laugh.
Flour was chosen over corn tortillas based on an informal social media poll he conducted. For gluten-free diners, corn is still available. Corn tortillas are used to make Taco Works’ popular tortilla chips. Salty and crisp, they go great with a bowl of fresh, creamy guacamole.
Besides tacos, the eatery is known for big, over-stuffed burritos: The Classic, The Standard, The Works and the Taco Burrito. The Classic is exactly that, a classic combination of meat, beans, cheese and onions. The Standard begins with the same ingredients and makes a few additions. It also has rice, street corn, cilantro, lettuce, pico and sour cream.
The Works is where things can get deliciously messy. It comes in a 14-inch shell and contains double the ingredients that are found in The Standard. Weighing in at over a pound, it’s huge. Morrobel calls it a “big boy burrito.” Finally, any taco on the menu can be made into a burrito.
The beans found in the burritos are not refried like you might expect. Here, they are affectionately called “kumbaya beans,” a combination of white, brown and black. They are available as a side, too. Other sides include a cucumber salad, fresh guacamole and street corn. The street corn comes in a cup with a tangy southwest sauce. It’s full of flavor and has just a touch of spice.
All tacos and burritos are made to order, and toppings can be customized or tweaked to your liking. The tacos start at $4 while burritos start at $9. For a sweet ending, cupcakes and Jayce’s Freeze Dried Candies are available. Both are locally made.
To wash everything down, Taco Works serves delicious craft sodas made with real sugar. Beer and wine are also on the menu. The beer comes in 16-ounce portions rather than the standard 12-ounce. Selections include those from local and nationally known brewers.
Taco Works began as a food truck. The first brick-and-mortar location opened over a year ago in Cape Coral. Next, Morrobel and Curtis acquired space on McGregor Boulevard, formerly home to Colleoni’s Italian Ristorante.
Colleoni’s owner Brad Cozza is sharing his investment expertise to help with Morrobel’s expansion plans. At press time, Taco Works was set to open a third location in downtown Fort Myers. Here, Morrobel promises a surprise addition to the space. Stay tuned for more.
An entrepreneur who has been involved in numerous Southwest Florida businesses and restaurants over the years, Morrobel says, “I turned 50 last year. When that happened, I said I want tacos and that’s it.” Expanding Taco Works is his new focus.
Tacos are universally fun and it’s obvious to even the most casual observer that he and Curtis are indeed having fun making them. They are in the restaurants daily, ensuring quality and consistency with the food and the staff. They’ve created welcoming spaces with food that will keep you coming back for more.
Taco Works is located at 1017-B Cape Coral Parkway in Cape Coral and 12731 McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers. At press time, the restaurant at 12731 Hendry St. in downtown Fort Myers was nearing completion. Catering and food trucks are available. Restaurants are open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. On weekends, the Cape Coral and downtown Fort Myers locations are open until 3 a.m. More information on all locations is available at TacoWorksFL.com.