Fusion flavor grows stronger as Taqueria Tsunami prepares to open in downtown Gainesville

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October 27—The Gainesville Renaissance’s first restaurant will soon open, filling the plates of local foodies with Latin-Asian cuisine.

Taqueria Tsunami, a fusion concept created by Scott and Alexis Kinsey of Fork U Concepts, is set to welcome its first wave of guests on Wednesday, November 2.

For its first week, the restaurant may only be open for dinner service to “take it one step at a time and get it right,” Alexis told The Times on Oct. 26.

To be among the first guests at Taqueria Tsunami in Gainesville, customers can visit taqueriatsunami.com/locations to add their name to the grand opening waitlist, or scan the QR code displayed in the restaurant window on the plaza. .

According to Alexis, 160 guests have already registered.

For newcomers to the brand, Alexis recommends either the avocado and cilantro spring rolls or the Asian nachos — fried wontons with queso, pico de gallo, roasted poblano, corn, lettuce, fresh jalapenos, and choice of ground beef. seasoned or ribs.

Then, for the starter, she directs the guests to the highlight of the menu: the tacos. Especially the award winning Thai chicken and shrimp tempura tacos.

One mixes grilled teriyaki chicken with cabbage, carrots, cilantro and sesame seeds drizzled with Thai peanut dressing, while the other tops shrimp tempura with Asian coleslaw, fresh cilantro and a hoisin-lime aioli.

For libations, the full-service restaurant and bar offers a range of margaritas, sangria, and signature cocktails, including a red berry mojito and samurai slingshot.

“To get the full Taqueria Tsunami experience, you definitely want to have an appetizer, a starter and then a cocktail – and, if you’re still hungry, a dessert,” Alexis said. “It gives you a good variety of everything…and the variety is so good you could eat it three times a week. It’s not heavy, it’s a lighter dish.”

Scott has a thing for empanadas and Korean fried cauliflower, but as a menu architect, it’s hard to pick his favorites.

“It’s kind of like asking a parent who their favorite child is,” he said.

According to Scott, a long-time chef with extensive international travel decorating his passport, Latin-Asian fusion is “one of those things where everyone knows a little about each cuisine. You have to take what you know and do it with what you’re comfortable with Words like “teriyaki” that you grew up with, we’ve taken those words and flavor points that are all the rage… and incorporate them into certain recipes and dishes and hopefully , will create a great experience for our customers.”

Taqueria Tsunami’s food products are exclusively homemade from fresh ingredients, with minimal freezer space set aside for ice cream to accompany churros or sopaipillas – crispy tortillas topped with honey, cinnamon and brown sugar – for dessert.

The menu’s fresh and unique style as well as its price point sets the restaurant apart from some of its counterparts, Alexis said, offering diners a full-service dining experience for as little as $12.

“It’s unheard of these days,” she said.

With food prices rising in the industry, the Kinseys refused to modify their product to save a few dollars.

“We haven’t changed our product at all,” Alexis said. “We’re not going to go for a lesser quality product because we really appreciate and take pride in what we sell.”

The couple’s end goal is to see their location in Gainesville become a household name.

“The goal is to be, ‘Oh, you have to try Taqueria Tsunami,'” Alexis said. “The place where they bring their friends when they’re in town, or their kids come home from college and they’re like, ‘You got Taqueria Tsunami here? We have to go!’ It’s going to take some time for people to test us to get there.”

The Gainesville location is the couple’s 13th restaurant and the ninth under the Taqueria Tsunami brand. Their portfolio also spans burgers, Spanish tapas, and Neapolitan dishes through additional restaurant concepts across Georgia.

A stark contrast to the Renaissance, the Kinseys are nearing the initial construction of their 14th restaurant, Cotto, a sophisticated Italian restaurant slated to open in January 2023.

When asked how they handle it all, Alexis replied, “We work hard. We have great operators, great management at each site and we try to keep each brand with its own identity, so you don’t feel like you’re walking in one place, but also maintain the integrity of the food you have from your very first location.”

Taqueria Tsunami opened its first location 10 years ago in Marietta Square, which looked strikingly like Gainesville Square today, the Kinseys said. Since then, they have positioned their following locations to meet the needs of families in residential areas.

“It’s our core; it’s part of our culture,” Alexis said. “We see the value in families with children having somewhere to eat. We understand that when you enter a residential area you want to be able to cater to those families to ensure they are your regular customers. “

As the bookends of the Gainesville Renaissance development, the Kinseys are eager to further integrate into the community, contribute to the town’s economic development and – borrowing from the restaurant’s slogan, “Mi casa es Tsu casa” – ensure their guests feel at home as they dine at Taqueria Tsunami.

“The people are so nice and it’s a great community to be a part of,” Alexis said. “The area is beautiful on its own, but the people here make it even more beautiful because they are so excited…to have a new restaurant in town. We will feed them and they will feed us.”

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