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Chicago-based taco bar preparing to open downtown Indy location

September 27, 2017
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A sign for the restaurant is already up at the corner of South Meridian and Georgia streets. (IBJ photo)

Broken English Taco Pub, a Chicago-based restaurant with three locations, has chosen downtown Indianapolis for its first spot outside of the Windy City.

Broken English has plans to occupy the first-floor space vacated earlier this year by Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery at 141 S. Meridian St.—on the northeast corner of Meridian and Georgia Street. No opening date has been announced.

Tilted Kilt opened in the 7,500-square-foot space formerly occupied by Jillian’s in December 2011 and closed May 1. Sources told IBJ that the former franchisee of Tilted Kilt still holds the lease on the location and has reached an agreement with Broken English to take over the space.  

Founded in 2016, Broken English has Chicago locations in The Loop, Lincoln Park and Old Town.

The casual taqueria and bar features about 10 different traditional and modern tacos and other Mexican entrees, with menus for brunch, lunch, dinner and the bar. The bar features sangria, margaritas and a large number of Mexican beers and specialty cocktails.

Taco prices range from $7 to $9 for a serving of two. Other entrees are priced from $8 to $13.

The chain is part of the Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants group, which operates several prominent eateries in Chicago, including Tavern on Rush, Riva Crab House and Crystal Garden on Navy Pier, Mad Social in the West Loop, Flamingo Rum Club, Tuscany, and Castaways Bar and Grill on North Avenue Beach.

An official from the Stefani group said the company wasn’t ready to talk about its plans for Indianapolis.

Stefani teamed with restaurateur Adolfo Garcia to start Broken English. Garcia, who moved from Mexico to Chicago in 1996, started oyster bar Pearl Tavern, Wrigleyville pizza joint Heating & Cooling, upscale diner Early Society in the Loop, and Son of a Butcher in Logan Square.

On Broken English’s Facebook page, Garcia explained the inspiration for the restaurant’s name: “I speak English with my friends, and I often find myself mixing in Spanish words because there are some phrases that simply don’t translate to English,” he said. “This happens in many other languages and cultures, but that is what makes the name ‘Broken English’ fun—it is part of our daily slang.”

Steve Delaney, first vice president at real estate services firm CBRE and a longtime specialist in restaurant deals, said taqueria concepts are a hot trend in restaurants right now and he expects Broken English to be successful in the downtown location.

Delaney said Bakersfield, in the Mass Ave district, features a similar Mexican street fare concept, and has done quite well since opening its downtown location in 2013.

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