The bar: Lloyd Taco Factory
The breakdown: It takes a certain amount of style, talent and popularity to earn notoriety by one name. Banksy. Beyonce. Coolio. They’ve all done it — albeit without any of the tacos and tequila that has boosted Buffalo’s mononymously named Lloyd. Once solely attached to the city’s most popular fleet of food trucks, the Peter Cimino and Chris Dorsaneo-created entity is now the moniker on Lloyd Taco Factory.
The Hertel Avenue locale is a green, orange and purple-festooned portal to another place, taking lined-up customers to a North Buffalo more appropriated attached to Portland, Ore. But if its style was its sole selling point, the nacho purveyors might be a footnote in this evolving story of a “new” Nickel City.
Instead, inventive culinary creations, fluid service and dizzying array of spirits and craft drafts make it a main character in Buffalo’s ongoing transformation.
The beer: Lagunitas IPA
The breakdown: For dark-beer drinkers, it’s hard to look past smooth and flavorful offerings like Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout and Boulder Beer Co.’s Chocolate Shake Porter (both on tap at Lloyd) when picking a pint. But when teaming a deliciously drinkable beer with the joint’s burritos or Mexicali spring rolls, you would be hard-pressed to find a selection more appropriate than Lagunitas IPA.
Rich and flavorful — but without the typical hops dropkick of many of its genre brethren—the Peteluma, Calif. beer is a fine choice for those willing to gingerly wade into craft draft waters. And at 6.2 percent ABV, you can certainly enjoy a few before ably patronizing nearby locales like Revolver Records or the Second Reader Bookshop. (Also, note: Lloyd fills growlers. Buy one there and get it filled for $18.)
Don’t fear the Dirty South: Burritos come with certain expectations. Meat, beans and some green salsa or pico de gallo are often standard. So should you be afraid to try a selection that, instead, features fried chicken, syrup and waffle pieces? Absolutely not.
Much like dipping French fries into your Frosty at Wendy’s, the Dirty South burrito’s union seems ridiculous before its taste deems it delicious. Wrapped in a flour tortilla and teamed with rice, it’s a break from normal taqueria fare — but so is the experience at Lloyd.
[Read a Starters called "Why Lloyd Taco Factory took so long"]
Get ready for the roll-up: As inviting and vibrant as Buffalo’s most unconventional factory is in February, one can only imagine how its environment will enliven the avenue in the spring and summer months. Equipped with storefront garage doors primed to be opened once temps approach the 60s (or 50s), Lloyd will certainly extend its exuberance and Vampire Weekend-serenaded vibe to neighboring sidewalks and streets. The always-entertaining Hertel Avenue is adding more exciting tenants by the week. The city’s Beck of tacos is merely the latest — and tastiest — to join the block party.
Lloyd Taco Factory
1503 Hertel Ave. (863-9781)
Founded in: 2015
Beers on tap: 6
Great place for: tacos, burritos and a glimpse into Buffalo’s culinary creativity.
Order the: Dirty South burrito, with a pint of Lagunitas IPA
Be ready to: wait in line, albeit with a smile on your face.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed on Sunday.