Sloppy Taco Palace patrons say yes to the mess
Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 17:05
Have you noticed the palace down on Kirkman Road? The Sloppy Taco Palace, that is; a place that is home to a rock-and-roll-fueled American atmosphere with a twist of Mexican eats. Who would have known this place has been within our reach for just about four years? It may be a small place, but it has a Mexican-style menu filled with a large beer selection, full liquor bar and free Wi-Fi; what else could you need?
This local find does not joke around when it comes to happy hour. As an establishment that values celebration over spending, it offers happy hour twice a day running from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., as well as 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. Live music is also a plus on Thursday and Saturday evenings, as locals set up on stage to showcase their talents. STP can easily be a perfect pit stop on your commute home from work or a fun spot to grab drinks with some friends.
"You definitely get your money's worth out of a drink – the house margarita or sangria, I would recommend," said junior interdisciplinary studies major Brittany Lukin. "The food too, [it] came out with no space on the plate even for ketchup. I definitely would come here again."
All first-time visitors are urged to try STP's must-have meal off the menu: the Sloppy Taco, of course. You can order it à la carte or in a basket. Baskets offer more tacos and your choice of rice and beans, chips and salsa or tater tots. The soft-shell flour tortillas are lightly fried with your choice of meat, pico de gallo or queso and is then topped with specially-blended seasonings.
"We are really just a bar that serves excellent food," STP owner Timmo Foley said. "We take our bar and menu seriously, and people are surprised."
He says they are not shy when it comes to portions, and he would rather be generous to his customers.
Switching the house salsas daily, STP has more than 50 original recipes for its salsas, each bearing a name worth remembering. This past weekend, ‘Grandma in heat' was the salsa of the day; sweet, but still with some heat to it.
"I like the fact that none of our salsas are from the can. Everything is fresh," said Eric Loesher, who has been working at STP for three years now.
The décor in STP is what you might expect from a Mexican restaurant. The walls are decorated with José Cuervo posters, sombreros and various types of beer memorabilia. A life-size Jonathan Goldsmith, also known as the ‘Most Interesting Man in the World' who advertises Dos Equis beer, greets customers at the bar encouraging them to "Drink Up."
"We all trust each other; it is small-staffed and we are all like a family here," Loesher said. "I have known both Timmo and Bucky (owners) for 15 years and I love coming in to work."
He said they come up with new ideas in the kitchen daily for their guests and have recently started a five-pepper burger and homemade pretzels for baseball season. They also stuff their own jalapeños and create a fresh black bean recipe everyday.
Foley hopes to venture out to a second location to reach out to the UCF community, but in the meantime, he is focusing on expanding its current location with an outside patio and stage.
"UCF students would love to have a place like this near campus. It is a non-commercial version of your typical Mexican cantina, but STP really does ‘stick it to the man' competing against food chains such as Tijuana Flats and Moe's because their food quality is really so much better," Lukin said.
For more photos, see the gallery.