A new restaurant is opening in Augusta at the former Taco Tico location on West 7th. Chef George Matta is bringing his culinary talents to this community and introducing a fresh approach to the fast food environment.
Matta, well-known in Wichita as the owner and executive chef at Adrian's and formerly the executive chef at Cafe Chantilly and Piccadilly Grill, is hoping to open Zorro's Tacos and More at the end of this week.
"I was looking to buy some real estate, possibly the three Taco Tico locations - Augusta, El Dorado and Newton. The deal in El Dorado fell through, but I decided to go ahead with the other two," he explained.
But he soon realized his ideas wouldn't mesh with the established franchise methods. He purchased the two locations and will be bringing a new concept to fast food.
"Everything will be fresh. All the food will be restaurant quality in a fast food environment," he said.
He also explained the meat would be fresh, along with all the other items on the menu.
"No artificial food," he said. "Just good value at good prices."
The menu will include Mediterranean, American and international cuisine. There will be everything from tacos to wraps, gyros to bierocks, pulled pork, homemade chip fries, Euro sandwiches on pita bread, even delicious carrot cake made by Bagatelle Bakery in Wichita and baklava, a sweet Mediterranean dessert that everyone loves.
"We will be serving up fresh healthy food, but we'll also have items for the diabetics. There will be healthy options. We care what people eat and we're are thinking of everyone. Where else will you be able to get sugar-free baklava?" he asked with enthusiasm.
Each week there will be featured specials on the menu and Matta plans to be in the kitchen full-time until he has someone who can prepare the food to his standard.
The building has also had a face-lift. The interior has had lots of fresh paint and it's hard to miss the numerous photos and paintings of the dashing black-clad masked Zorro. Matta has license from Zorro Productions to use the iconic images and is proud of the Zorro painted on the outside of the building by renowned artist Rick Regan, whose parents live in Augusta.
"It's a family-friendly, fun atmosphere with really good food," Matta added, "And we agree with Zorro's point of view - he had high standards and he helped his community. That's what we're going to do, any way we can."
The chef is also an accomplished musician, as well. He sings and plays the guitar, specializing in Flamenco and Classical Music. Matta has played professionally in Paris and in Africa. He may perform at Zorro's occasionally.
Page 2 of 2 - He already loves the small town atmosphere.
"I enjoy the genuine quality of this small town," he said. "I've really enjoyed working with Dan Allen, the city inspector and all the people at the city building. Everyone has been very helpful and we are very excited to open."
The hours will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on week days, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, with the drive-through open until 10 p.m. throughout the week.
Matta said, "The first Zorro's is opening in Augusta. I believe we are making history here. Fresh food in a fast food setting. We're excited."
Belinda Larsen can be reached at email@example.com.