Located in a 100-year-old building at 1 Moreland Avenue in Reynoldstown, Chi Chi Vegan Taco Shop will serve Mexican tacos made with plant-based ingredients. The entire restaurant will be 100 percent dairy free, egg free, and meat free. It’s scheduled to open September 5.
“In the past five years, I’ve been on my own, personal food journey,” says Chi Chi founder and chef Chris Hodge. “Food can cure you or cause disease in the body. I instantly felt better after eliminating dairy, eggs, meat from my diet.”
An avid traveler, Hodge fell in love the complexity of Mexican flavors and simplicity of the ingredients. But as a home cook, she had trouble finding casual restaurants with good-tasting vegan fare and decided to open her own. Chi Chi, which is a spin off her initials, will serve tacos, salads, nachos, burritos, and rice bowls, for lunch and dinner. Breakfast and late-night offerings are planned for later on.
Expect vegan takes on chorizo, chicken, barbacoa beef, and even a hibiscus taco. The soft taco shells will be made every few days by a local tortilleria. Desserts, such as churros and tres leches, will come from a local baker.
Although alcohol will not be available, Chi Chi will offer a signature drink in the form of a Mangonanda. It’s a popular Mexican street drink made from shaved ice, pureed mango, and a sweet and savory spice.
At 700 square feet, Chi Chi will feature a 20-seat dining room with counter service. (Delivery and curbside pickup will be a focus.) There are white marble floors, live plants, and touches of wood. The exterior wall and some of the interior are painted salmon pink to attract attention.
“It’s catchy. I wanted something that would stand out,” Hodge says. “I designed the space and concept around social media and advertising in general.”