Put a stick in 806: it is officially dead. Since it opened way back in 2003, the swanky cocktail lounge with a dress code has changed hands, concepts and management multiple times. But starting May 5, the place at 806 Literary Road will be known as Barrio.
New owner Joe Kahn has two decades in the restaurant biz; most recently he worked as manager at Edison's Pub. He describes Barrio as a high-end taqueria serving authentic tacos.
"We're going to focus mainly on tacos," says Kahn. "We're sticking with tacos and doing them right."
Former Salmon Dave's executive chef Joe Mokry will be heading up the kitchen.
Diners can expect a half-dozen authentic-style tacos built around house-cooked meats, salsas and sauces. Guests also can build their own, mixing and matching meats, salsas, toppings, and garnishes a la Happy Dog. There will even be paper chits to tick off items like the hot dog-themed bar in Detroit Shoreway. Prices are $3 per taco.
Every effort is being made to source the best tortillas, Kahn says.
"The most important thing is the shell. That first bite of your taco has to be fantastic."
Homemade chips and salsa, queso and guacamole round out the focused menu.
As for putting a taqueria into a former cocktail lounge, Kahn says changes to the interior will make it a good fit.
"This won't feel like 806," he promises. "We've done a lot of painting and remodeling."
Cushy furniture has been replaced by tables and chairs. An artist has added "Day of the Dead" themed art to the walls. Over a dozen taps will pour craft beer to go along with the tequila and margaritas.
Kahn says that recent legal issues faced by the previous owner should not interfere with his plans to open – and serve booze – by Cinco de Mayo.