Two taquerias coming to South Hill and Lakewood. Here’s when
A handful of years ago, Roger Aceituno dabbled in a single restaurant.
Now he and his small, locally-grown restaurant group are up to 12 locations. Two of those newest additions will be in South Hill and Lakewood this year.
“It’s been extremely overwhelming,” said Aceituno of the fast expansion of his Aceituno’s Mexican Food, his local chain of taquerias focused on tacos. “We opened the newest one last week in Centralia and we’re working on the other two now,” he said.
In Pierce County, find existing Aceituno’s Mexican Food taquerias in Spanaway and Orting. Aceituno’s also has a sister taqueria called Julianito’s in Graham. The remainder of the Aceituno’s locations are in Kitsap, Lewis and King Counties.
Expect an opening for the new Lakewood Aceituno’s Mexican Food sometime in October. If he’s lucky, he’ll open South Hill in late November, but permitting and occupancy of that location could take longer. Both locations are taking over former Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. Local diners likely have noticed the vibrant paint jobs at each space. Call the colors Aceituno’s signature lime green and yellow.
When those locations open, Aceituno said diners should expect the same kind of menu as the other Aceituno’s taquerias: inexpensive, portable Mexican food at a fair price. The menu includes street tacos, six kinds of breakfast burritos, carne asada fries, rolled tacos, torta sandwiches, mulitas and more.
If Aceituno’s is known for anything, it’s the taco box, an order of 20 tacos plus rice, beans chips and more for just under $45. It’s an extremely popular menu item for large families and for game-day eating. It’s also what put Aceituno’s on the food map.
“That taco box keeps going viral,” he said, laughing. The presentation is a big pizza box full of tacos and it makes for great photos on Instagram. He said most recently, a photo of a taco box on Reddit brought him a windfall of business. “It’s been well received and it’s also given us a lot of success,” he said.
He said the restaurant’s Taco Tuesday deals and other promotions have kept the small chain of restaurants afloat throughout the pandemic. He’s focusing on improving the quality of the offerings and also on making sure diners get good value for their money.
They’ve made some recent changes to the menu, too. Aceituno’s added a chile relleno and a skirt steak plate.
The Lakewood location is in the Tillicum neighborhood, which Aceituno said was a big draw because of the neighborhood’s proximity to JBLM. He said soldiers and base employees will appreciate his quick service. The Meridian location is right in the middle of the busy restaurant district (and I’m tickled that a chain restaurant is being replaced by a locally-owned restaurant). He expects that the South Hill location to be high volume because of that traffic.
“We really think it’s going to be a really busy store. We’ve excited,” he said. “When the KFC location, it came available, right before they left (exited the space), and we jumped on it. We knew we had to be on South Hill.”
Aceituno said that while opening so many restaurants at once is causing him a bit of anxiety, “We’re really blessed that even during the pandemic we’re a strong growing company.”
Follow their social media for updates on the openings of the Lakewood and South Hill restaurants.
ACEITUNO’S MEXICAN FOOD
South Hill: 12118 Meridian Ave E., Puyallup
Lakewood: 15116 Union Ave. SW, Lakewood
Other Pierce County locations: Spanaway and Orting
MORE SOUTH HILL DINING NEWS
Trapper’s Sushi is on the move. The South Hill restaurant in Sunrise Village will move later this year to a new location in the Sunrise Village complex where The Ram used to operate. Read more here.
Mix Poke Bar and Sip + Spoon also are opening in South Hill. The restaurants currently operate at Tacoma Mall and will be expanding to South Hill’s Sunrise Village. Read more here.
Roadhouse in South Hill just closed and is on the move. The longtime South Hill bar is moving two miles south to a new location. Read more here. In nearby Graham, the Flying Tomato closed its doors, but it found a new home in Spanaway. Read more here.
Hello Pho, an upscale Vietnamese restaurant, is opening in South Hill with a handsome dining room and a cocktail menu. Read more here.