March 5, 2019

Frederick County residents looking for a good margarita will soon have a few more options, with two new restaurants expected to open in the coming weeks.

Taco Daddy Cantina is expected to open next week at 137 N. Market St., in the space formerly occupied by Adam & Eve Gastro Pub.

Owner Neel Kamal said he hopes to open next Wednesday or Thursday, after a hearing with the Frederick County Liquor Board on Monday.

He said he wants to tap into the Market Street nightlife scene but also provide a place where families can come for birthdays or brunch on weekends.

The restaurant will feature a Tex-Mex menu and a tequila bar with 30 to 40 types of tequila, Kamal said.

But he also wants to provide a family atmosphere in the restaurant.

“We separate those two sections,” Kamal said.

Kamal has been a chef for the last 20 years, including at Indian restaurants in Baltimore and the former El Rodeo in Towson before coming to Frederick.

He’s also considering opening a fine-dining Indian restaurant somewhere downtown.

He appreciates that downtown has stayed away from having chain restaurants, providing an opportunity for local restaurants to thrive. And customers downtown reward restaurants that provide good food and service.

“You just have to keep on doing a good job,” Kamal said.

Since the site had been a restaurant before, they didn’t have to do a lot of construction work inside beyond cosmetic work, he said. They were able to prepare the space and get most of their necessary permits in about 30 days.

The short turnaround time speaks to the potential of Taco Daddy’s space and of downtown overall, said Kara Norman, executive director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership.

Norman said she hadn’t spoken with Kamal directly, but he was working with the partnership.

Their goal is obviously for all spaces to be full all the time, she said.

Norman said a business’s traffic is not only dependent on its product, but also on the amount of traffic that their neighboring stores draw as well.

“It’s always important to have active and vital storefronts,” she said.

Along with Taco Daddy’s pending opening, Cinco de Mayo Mexican Restaurant and Bar is expected to open in Middletown in late March.

Owner Antonio Ulloa said he expects to start hiring staff in the first week of March, and is waiting on some equipment and booths to arrive before he can open.

The restaurant already has locations in Westminster, Columbia and Martinsburg and is working to open an Urbana location.

The Middletown location will feature a full tequila bar, with 120 brands available, as well as homemade sangria and Mexican beers on tap, Ulloa said.

The menu will include items such as tacos with corn tortillas, fajitas, homemade cheese dip and tres leches cake, he said.

Like Kamal, he wants to provide a place where families, as well as other customers, will feel comfortable, with patio seating and a kid’s menu.

“My main thing is being a family-friendly restaurant,” Ulloa said.