Nico’s Taco & Tequila Bar, which has been serving street tacos and scratch margaritas in a house in Uptown Minneapolis for five years, has made the leap eastward. A second location in the old Muffuletta in St. Paul is now open.
Muffuletta, the St. Anthony Park restaurant with a patio – one of the region’s first – was beloved as a 40-year neighborhood fixture when it closed in late 2017. That’s a legacy of which Nico’s co-owner Jenna Victoria is well aware.
“With the new place, we definitely filled some pretty big shoes,” Victoria said.
She’s no stranger to storied spaces. The Uptown Nico’s is in a historic house – unusual for busy Hennepin Ave. It was long known as coffee shop Pandora’s Cup. (2516 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-345-7688, nicostacobar.com)
“The bones of each building are so different,” Victoria said. “Uptown is a little more quirky; it’s in a house on two floors. It’s got a cozy, quaint atmosphere.”
Nico’s Taco Bar on Como, which is the new restaurant’s full name, “is all on one floor, and it feels like a bigger, brighter space, so we did a fresher look.” (2260 Como Av., St. Paul, 651-450-8848)
The bar is dominated by a giant mural of Frida Kahlo, and the color scheme throughout is white and light blue.
It might look different from the first Nico’s, but the owners are aiming for the same vibe: “neighborhood gem,” Victoria said. “The space at Muffuletta on Milton Square spoke to us and reminded us of who we are a restaurant. We wanted it to be something different, but at the same time be the neighborhood restaurant that Muffuletta did such a good job of being.”
The menu is pretty much the same in both locales, too, other than the addition of a full brunch menu in St. Paul. They’ve added Mexican mimosas, avocado toast, a Mexican-style street burger and fresh juices to the huevos rancheros and chilaquiles they were already serving in Uptown. That launches this weekend.
Nico’s Tacos on Como is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.