The Wood Shack owners will open Shameless Taco in Wood River, Illinois, later this year

Chris and Hope Delgado, owners of The Wood Shack in Soulard, are opening a Sonoran-style restaurant at 53 E. Ferguson Ave. in downtown Wood River, Illinois, this summer or fall, as reported by The Telegraph. Shameless Taco will serve Mexican food inspired by Chris Delgado’s Mexican heritage with “robust flavors” – dishes that feature heavy doses of dried chiles.

The restaurant will offer tacos with smoked meats – pork, chicken, beef, shrimp and fish – or veggies, as well as Mexican beer, tequilas and margaritas. “Tex-Mex is just not my style, so we will not be loading everybody up with rice and beans,” he said. Delgado has not finalized the menu yet, but he said he can guarantee salsa and queso, among other appetizers.

In Mexico, it’s customary to wrap meat in leaves then bury it in the ground to barbecue it, Delgado explained. Although he cannot do that due to health code, he plans to impart similar flavors by wrapping meats in leaves such as banana or avocado before cooking them in a smoker. There will be some meat from Wood Shack like the Sonoran pit barbecue also available at Shameless Taco, though the menus will primarily diverge.

This restaurant has been part of Delgado’s plan for a long time, so he’s excited – albeit a bit nervous – that it’s finally coming to fruition. “I have always wanted to do a Mexican restaurant since I’ve been in St. Louis, and I’ve been cooking here for 20 years,” he said. Delgado is not yet sure how they will split their time between Shameless Taco and The Wood Shack. “My wife might be at Wood Shack, and I might be at Shameless Taco,” he said.

Downtown Wood River has been undergoing revitalization recently. Delgado discovered Wood River’s potential while working with a developer to find a home for Shameless Taco. “It seems exciting to have revitalization with a new dispensary, spas and stores coming in,” he said. “It seems like there is a lot to do around that area. … This will be a great destination … whereas before there was nothing Wood River had to offer them.”

The space is roughly 4,000 square feet indoors, and a patio could add 1,500 square feet if construction is completed the way Delgado hopes. The brightly colored look and feel will be similar to The Wood Shack. 

The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday (aside from Tuesday, when it’s closed), and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Look for an online presence to be created for Shameless Taco by June. In the meantime, you can check out The Wood Shack online or on social media.