Fuego Bistro Owner Opening Fuego Tacos at the Esplanade

Remember Nixon's, the Esplanade watering hole for political junkies? I sure do -- for ages, it was a favorite New Times hangout, where the edit staff would pow-wow upstairs with snacks and cocktails. Since it closed more than two years ago, it's been a dark, empty shell in need of new life.

Now, I'm happy to report, the place has a future.

Later this week, demolition begins to transform Nixon's into a new, casual taco spot called Fuego Tacos, which will open January 15.

The guy behind it is Jeff Ward, owner of Fuego Bistro (a great place for mojitos and Latin-inspired cooking, south of Bethany Home, off of 7th Street, and worth seeking out). He tells me he inked the deal on his new venture a week ago, and plans to create a casual version of the bistro, featuring "20 different kinds of tacos using the same ingredients and DNA of Fuego Bistro."

Here are a few examples of what Ward is planning for his all-day menu: natural braised pork shoulder with charred poblano salsa, tomatillo aioli, and cojita cheese; cola-braised beef short rib tacos with radish pico de gallo, grilled habenero salsa, and oaxacan cheese blend; and Fuego duck confit tacos with blood orange salsa, port chile reduction, and charred peppers and onions.

Taco plates will run $8 to $12 and will include jalepeno creamed corn and Cuban black beans. The drink program will feature mojitos, sangria, martinis, margaritas, and $5 specialty cocktails. There will also be a daily happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. (all day on Sunday).