Orlando_and_yolisubmitted by Tom Linehan [Email address: tlinehan #AT# austin.rr.com - replace #AT# with @ ]

I first saw Orlando at Amy’s Ice Cream the night it opened  in September. He was driving off on a burnt orange Vespa. It was easy to make the connection with Taco Shack because he had the Taco Shack logo emblazoned on the back of the Vespa (see Vespa in picture).

Orlando and Yoli Arriaga, long-term residents of Allandale, are the proud owners of the popular Taco Shack restaurants you see springing up around town. The first one opened up 9 years ago in 1996 on Medical Parkway, just south of 45th St.

The_originalThe two had always talked about opening a restaurant and acted on it when Orlando came home one day with a signed lease  for the small building at 4412 Medical Parkway, formerly a barbecue restaurant (see picture on right). Since their initial opening and after many months of long hours and hard work, the two have opened 5 other locations. Taco Shack is  a fast food restaurant using fresh ingredients and family recipes –  they’re not your everyday store-bought tomatoes in those tacos.

Orlando grew up in Allandale and went to McCallum. He met Yoli while attending  St. Edwards. He’s always lived in or around the neighborhood. Orlando recalls the 1981 memorial day flood. He had just finished playing a baseball game at NW park when the rains started. He arrived home soaked and stayed up like so many of us that night watching the rain turn to a downpour that wouldn’t stop. The couple now live off Shoal Creek in one of the cul de sacs just south of 2222. They are the recipients of this year’s “Most Patriotic Yard” in the Allandale Yard Contest.

For 5 out of the 6 Taco Shack restaurants around town, it’s a breakfast and lunch place. They  recently extended their hours at the North Lamar location (just across from Central Market)  to 9:00 p.m. Breakfast continues to be a big draw. If you wonder why your high schoolers leave for school early some days it might be because they’re picking up breakfast tacos at Taco Shack. Suggest you give it a try yourself. They’re good!

Taco Shack’s menu consists mostly of, well you guessed it,  tacos – breakfast tacos, soft tacos, fajita tacos, crispy tacos, etc., however, you will also find burritos, taco salads and tortas on their menu. Click here for their full menu and locations.

Orlando and Yoli are big supporters of local high schools. You won’t see a lot of Taco Shack advertising but you may notice Taco Shack as a  sponsor of some of the local high school events, the most visible  of which is their sponsorship of the annual “Taco Shack Bowl” between McCallum and Anderson high schools.

Taco Shack on Medical Parkway is just one of those conveniences in and around Allandale that make one appreciate living here.