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The Original El Taco in Virginia-Highland Is Closing

The popular Tex-Mex restaurant closes March 19 after 14 years to make way for a new Fifth Group restaurant this summer

The Original El Taco
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

Tex-Mex restaurant the Original El Taco is closing this month after 14 years in Virginia-Highland. The Fifth Group-backed restaurant, which first opened in 2008 along North Highland Avenue, closes after service on Sunday, March 19.

But the space won’t remain empty for long, as Fifth Group plans to renovate it and open a new restaurant there later this summer.

“We’ve been in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood since 1999 when we first opened La Tavola. We love our regulars and neighbors and want to bring them something fresh and new,” a statement provided to Eater from Fifth Group partner Steve Simon reads. “The area is seeing an influx of investment, growth, and new retail and restaurants and we’re excited to match that energy with a brand new concept.”

Over its decade-plus existence in Virginia-Highland, El Taco became known for its takes on tacos like the gaujillo cauliflower, blackened fish, and fried chicken. The Big Daddy nacho stack, another popular dish on the menu, comes loaded with pork carnitas, refried beans, grilled peppers and onions, cheese, and crispy onions topped with a fried egg. Both the margaritas and sangria at El Taco are highlights on the drinks menu.

A representative says all of El Taco’s employees are being offered jobs at Fifth Group’s other restaurants, which also include Ecco, Lure, Alma Cocina, and South City Kitchen

The El Taco locations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Concourses C and F remain open, as does Ecco on Concourse F.

The Original El Taco
The Original El Taco
The Original El Taco

Alma Cocina

191 Peachtree Street Northwest, , GA 30303 (404) 968-9662 Visit Website

La Tavola

992 Virginia Avenue Northeast, , GA 30306 (404) 873-5430 Visit Website

South City Kitchen

1675 Cumberland Parkway Southeast, , GA 30080 (770) 435-0700 Visit Website

The Original El Taco

1186 North Highland Avenue Northeast, , GA 30306 (404) 873-4656 Visit Website


40 7th Street Northeast, , GA 30306 (404) 347-9555 Visit Website


1106 Crescent Avenue Northeast, , GA 30309 (404) 817-3650 Visit Website