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Rocca proprietors to unveil Streetlight Taco, a new establishment in South Tampa



Rocca proprietors to unveil Streetlight Taco, a new establishment in South Tampa

A Mexican taco restaurant is set to open in Tampa, backed by investors associated with the Michelin-starred Rocca.

Located at 4004 Henderson Blvd., the newly established Streetlight Taco, taking over the former Holy Hog Barbecue spot, is scheduled to open this Tuesday. Chef-partner and executive chef Michael Brannock, formerly a corporate chef at PDQ in Tampa, is the creative force behind the concept. During his time at PDQ, Brannock crossed paths with Rocca investor Nick Reader, who had resigned as CEO of PDQ in mid-2023.

Streetlight Taco is spearheaded by general partners Nick Reader and Jack Murray III, both investors in Rocca. The exact startup investment for Streetlight Taco remains undisclosed.

Brannock emphasizes that the restaurant will exude a casual, laid-back atmosphere, yet the culinary aspect is a sincere undertaking. The tortillas, a fundamental component of the menu, will be crafted in-house using heirloom corn procured from family farms in Mexico. Over the two-year development period of Streetlight Taco, Brannock has undertaken eight trips to Mexico to establish connections with vendors and family farms.

Brannock’s affinity for Mexican food and culture was cultivated through childhood friends in his North Carolina hometown. During his time at PDQ, Brannock occasionally prepared Mexican dinners for internal events, sparking the idea in Reader’s mind to open a Mexican restaurant.

In contrast to Rocca, Reader emphasizes that Streetlight Taco is designed as a family-friendly spot that patrons can frequent multiple times a week. With a complete bar, the dining experience can cater to various budgets. Tacos, available in sets of two, are priced between $10 to $12, while signature cocktails start at $11.

Brannock introduces inventive twists to Mexican cuisine, including a steak taco with shoestring fries, jalapeno chicharron, cilantro, onion, salsa borracha, and lime. Another creation is the sweet potato taco featuring a wood-grilled wedge of sweet potato, agave glaze, scallion goat cheese, pomegranate arils, jalapeno, and sesame garlic macha.

To streamline the ordering process, customers will use digital kiosks near the entrance. Streetlight Taco will commence operations with curbside pickup, with plans to expand to delivery services through third-party apps like Uber Eats in the future.