Fast casual favorite Lucha Libre Taco Shop, a collaboration between founders and San Diego natives Jose, Maurilio and Diego Rojano Garcia along with their childhood friend Joseph Stewart, has just unmasked its newest location at the recently revitalized retail and dining destination, The Shoppes at Carlsbad. The vibrantly-colored 2,000-square-foot-space, situated in the center’s “Restaurant Row” near Nekter and Breakfast Republic, brings the brand’s signature belt-busting Mexican fare to North County’s expanding culinary landscape.
The Carlsbad location comes nearly ten years after the first Lucha Libre opened doors at the foot of San Diego’s Mission Hills neighborhood. In the years that have followed, the brand has gained a cult-following after it was spotlighted on such shows as Man vs. Food and even garnered recognition from famed actor Morgan Spurlock who tweeted Aziz Ansari saying,”Lucha Libre is incredible.” The restaurant’s initial success led to a subsequent opening in North Park in 2015 along with several kiosks at Petco Park. In the time since its inception, the brand has made it a goal to redefine the city’s fast casual Mexican offerings establishing itself as an avant-garde industry leader.
From the moment guests enter the new Carlsbad location, they’ll be greeted by the “Lucha Libre Experience” encompassing everything from colorful, kitschy décor to themed restrooms, wrestling masks, vinyl wall art and custom artwork by Daniel Chavira depicting the famed luchadores. Along with its lively atmosphere, the restaurant will continue its usage of the highest quality ingredients and unique recipes to produce creative food offerings. As is customary with the brand’s existing locations, Lucha Libre Carlsbad will make each item to order using the best locally sourced ingredients from top shelf quality flap sirloin used in the carne asada and grilled over an open flame to housemade salsas and guacamole.
Menu highlights include “California Burritos” featuring the signature Surfin’ Cali with grilled steak, shrimp, fresh fries, pico de gallo, jack cheese, avocado slices and super secret chipotle sauce along with the Ado-Haba Cali with adobada pork, grilled pineapple, fries, sour cream, jack cheese, pico de gallo and pineapple habanero sauce. For those who prefer the taco route (it is San Diego afterall,) guests can select amongst a plethora of combinations ranging from the Queso Taco made with grilled crispy cheese with the choice of steak, chicken or fresh fries topped with avocado, secret chipotle sauce and queso enchilado or the Undefeated Seafood Taco with blackened mahi or grilled shrimp, jack cheese, pico de gallo, cabbage and serrano sauce.
Vegetarian-friendly options include the Veggie Taco with zucchini, mushrooms, black beans, corn and queso panela topped with poblano sauce and queso enchilado in addition to the Rolled Tacos with the choice of beef or potato topped with lettuce, pico de gallo, cheese and queso enchilado. Lucha Libre Taco Shop also features specialties like the TJ Dog, an all-beef hotdog wrapped in bacon topped in ketchup, mustard, mayo and fajitas as well as the Knockout Fries, a generous serving of fresh fries with the choice of chicken or steak, bacon and mushrooms topped with melted jack cheese, avocado slices, queso enchilado and secret chipotle sauce. And since no taco shop is complete without quesadillas, there is a whole section of the menu devoted to Lucha Libre’s take on the Mexican classic, ranging from the Suplex Quesadilla made with chicken, avocado, jack cheese, queso enchilado and poblano sauce and the Smackdown Quesadilla which is filled with chicken, cheese, fajitas, sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo to the more traditional Three Cheese Quesadilla made with queso enchilado, queso panela and jack cheese. And to finish the meal on a sweet note, guests can indulge in decadent Flan.
Lucha Libre Taco Shop is located at 2525 El Camino Real, Suite 218-C, Carlsbad, CA 92008. For complete information, visit: www.tacosmackdown.com