J-Byrd’s Tacos & Tequila opened its second location late last year in the closed Provecho space on Centennial Boulevard. Choice Restaurant Concepts’ self-proclaimed “hip, urban taco haven” offers the same menu as the downtown location. Before returning to Springs last year, I spent six years in Denver, where trendy tacos abound and buzz during happy hours. A few friends and I drop by to assess whether or not T-Byrd’s patio, with stunning views of Pikes Peak, will become our after-work spot as the days warm up. But as long as it’s cold, we enjoy the view from inside with a round of margaritas, Pork carnita wontons and fries with salsa and guac – all happy hour menu offerings, saving you a few bucks every weekday from 3-6 p.m.
the margarita house on the rocks (available frozen) err on the sweet side and drink water after a few minutes of melting ice cream. Later we try signing Fire and Ice Margarita made with house-infused tequila whose name turns out to be literal when it comes on fire. A flaming sugar cube blazes over a cucumber and jalapeño infused frozen margarita. This sips more balanced than the house margarita and the aesthetics and interesting flavor are on par with what I would expect from a hip tequila bar. The fries come out hot with two salsa options: roja and verde. Although I think both could use more spice, the fresh fries have us scraping the bowl. The wontons bear the influence of the Choice Mood Tapas restaurant. Asian-Mexican fusion is crispy on the outside with a cheesy filling on the inside. But said filling is rare; I can’t discern any flavor of carnitas. We rely on the trio of sauces that accompanies it. A Thai chili option rounds out the fusion experience, but emphasizes sweetness over spiciness. I prefer to brush them with our order of creamy, thick guac with fresh jalapeño and red onion.
We realize we’re still in the happy hour window, which saves us $1 per taco, so we order a few. I’m leaving for the Nada Carnitas based on lion’s mane. They shred and char like classic street taco filling and chew earthy and juicy while the crunch of pickled red onions creates an easy and satisfying vegan option.
For a taste of non-vegan carnitas, I try the Pineapple Express. True to its name, this taco is an ideal snack for stoners, with refreshing carnitas and pineapple stuffed inside a puffy fried flour tortilla. I wish the pork carnitas had the same burnt crispiness as their vegan counterpart; the soft tortilla retains the texture because the filling is sweet and mushy. Overall, T-Byrd’s food fare compares very well to Denver, not superlatives. Disappointing house marg aside, the happy hour offerings and ambiance are up to par, but the Latina in me craves a little more spice and flavor from an “urban” taco.