Taco Buddha will reopen April 25 after fire in early 2019

Taco Buddha is returning to its former home in University City after closing indefinitely due to an electrical fire on Jan. 4. The revamped fast-casual joint will return to service on April 25 at 7405 Pershing Ave.

The restaurant will offer the same casual atmosphere with an updated look and menu. Owner Kurt Eller said the fire forced a rebuild of both the office and their front dining room, which provided an opportunity to make some desired changes.

“There’s stuff we really wanted to but logistically couldn’t before,” Eller said. “We were patching up an old building before, so it was harder for everything to be just how we wanted it.”

New executive chef and general manager Jeff Friesen, formerly of Juniper, Farmhaus and Sugarfire Smoke House, spearheaded the menu update, but Eller said Friesen was sure to keep old favorites and the restaurant’s concept intact. He plans to run weekly farmers market specials starting April 30.

Eller said the reopening gave him the chance to learn from Taco Buddha’s beginnings, including making the new menu entirely adaptable to a gluten-free diet. “You know what works, and you know what you can improve, where you’re kind of shooting from the hip the first time. It ain’t easy,” he said.

Taco Buddha is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday for brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Its weekday happy hour, along with online ordering and full catering operations, will resume service on April 30.

James Boeckmann is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine.