Regino Rojas in front of his Deep Ellum Revolver Taco Lounge moves on from Fort Worth.
A new collaboration with Josh Harmon will debut soon on the tasting menu at La Resistencia.
Oh so pretty, pulpo tacos at La Resistencia.
When Chef Regino Rojas pulled out of Fort Worth for good and set up in Deep Ellum, his creativity gained the notice of the James Beard Foundation, which named him a semifinalist in both 2018 and 2019 in the Best Chef in the Southwest category. He also earned a Best Chef: Texas nom in 2020.
Now, in just two short months, Rojas’ anticipated return to Fort Worth, to what should have been a prime spot near Sundance Square, has come to an abrupt end. Purepecha/Revolver Taco Lounge — the dual sided restaurant that was part counter service taqueria and part experiential fine dining venue — is no more. It shuttered on August 14 after having only opened in mid June.
Rojas has improved as a restaurateur over the years and he now understands the delicate balance between his own creative flamboyance and meeting the service expectations of diners. He’s fearless in many respects. Rojas once floated putting turkey carpaccio on the menu. I assured him Americans were not ready for that. But along with service issues, landlords and leases have plagued this talented chef above all else over the years.
How do you contend with a long barricaded Sundance Square Plaza? The plaza has been closed to public gatherings, strewn with sad pot plants. It is one of the only prime Fort Worth venues that is still struggling to recover from the COVID closures. How do you attract diners and overcome a new pricier valet parking system?
This James Beard nominee could not overcome all that, and staffing shortages did not help.
“It was a combination of things,” Rojas tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “But obviously, there was not enough business to keep the place open.”
Regino Rojas’ Fort Worth Impact
When Gino Rojas and his familia rolled into Fort Worth and set up on West Seventh Street a decade ago, many people didn’t get it. Rojas’ Revolver Taco Lounge was not your typical Tex-Mex. Instead, it centered around authentic, homestyle meals, complete with handmade mole, fresh pressed tortillas and fresh paleta flavored cocktails.
Plus, the meals came out one by one, just like they would if you were eating in a family’s home and momma was cooking for a crowd. Which Regino Rojas’ mother actually was.
My first review of the place advised diners to kick back and not be in a rush because the food was worth the wait. A revelation really. Rojas introduced me to pulpo tacos (grilled octopus) and huitlacoche (a fungus that grows on corn husks). The mole at Revolver Taco Lounge was painstakingly put together and the chile en nogada sprinkled with bright pomegranate seeds was addictive.
Revolver Taco Lounge’s Deep Ellum location is still going strong, and Rojas recently opened a new Revolver Taco in the Exchange food hall in the AT&T Discovery District. That’s a bit of good news ― for Dallasites anyway.
Rojas is also teaming up with another notable Dallas chef, Josh Harmon, soon.
Harmon, who has been helping Regina Charboneau reopen her biscuit mecca in Nachez, Mississippi for the past seven months, broke the news in a blog post.
“I am also stoked to say I’m back in Dallas (for now lol) helping the legend himself @regino.rojas.1 and the whole Revolver group evolve into its next step. We have some really cool stuff up our sleeves and I’m stoked to be a part of it.
“I will also hopefully be opening something this fall if things go accordingly. . . Now come to a tasting at La Resistencia and wave nervously from your table.”
Rojas confirms the collaboration.
“For now he’s coming to join the team at La Resistencia, as well as Jose Marquez, which was the chef in our Fort Worth location,” he tells PaperCity. La Resistencia is the seven course prix fixe chef’s tasting menu hosted at Revolver Taco Lounge’s Deep Ellum location.
A few of the wild new plates the kitchen team’s created include dry aged black bass belly atop rice mixed with allium and vinegar with avocado foam and olive kosho, and a smoked trout tostada drizzled with fermented chile crema, curtido (Salvadorian slaw), furikake flakes and vegetable ash.
When you put these two food mad scientist together, there’s bound to be an explosion of creativity. Regino Rojas is leaving Fort Worth — for at least now. But he’s not close to done.