Local N.M. restaurant owner introduces ‘Baja meets Burque’ and ‘808 meets the 505’

By Elaina Jameson

From the Northeast Heights of Albuquerque, N.M. to operating his new restaurant on San Mateo and Copper by himself, Dominic Valenzuela has had his eyes on the entrepreneur lifestyle since he was 11-years-old.

Valenzuela began by incorporating his passion for cooking and tacos to create Dia De Los Takos. Dia De Los Takos is a small restaurant inside of Albuquerque Indoor Karting, which opened on Jan. 7.

Valenzuela said the meaning behind the “K” in “tako” runs deeper than the way the word looks. “I didn’t want to stick to one style of cuisine,” Valenzuela said. “I thought the name was a good choice for showcasing the “taco” or “tako” and showing its versatility. “Taco” is Mexican and “tako” is universal,” Valenzuela said.

Courtesy Photo via https://www.facebook.com/diadelos.takos/

With a specialty in beer battered fish tacos, Valenzuela told ABQ-Live Dia De Los Takos’ cuisine is defined as “Baja meets Burque.” Customers can expect a unique experience when they eat at Dia De Los Takos. “We use the taco as a vessel to transport people’s taste buds to other regions of the world,” Valenzuela said.

Valenzuela accommodates for all preferences and diets, including vegan. He said he enjoys adding items to the menu as his ideas flow. “I like to offer a lot of vegan options — whatever I get inspired by as the seasons come,” Valenzuela said to ABQ-Live.

The responsibilities within a restaurant are nothing new to Valenzuela. He spent the last two years teaching sushi classes, operating a food truck and working as a chef.

Valenzuela said becoming “the most recognizable name in Albuquerque” and “establishing a hangout” are included in the future plans of Dia De Los Takos.

Dia De Los Tako’s special runs only on Tuesdays. Check out the quick service restaurant with fish tacos priced at $1.50. With burritos and salads on the menu in addition to tacos and smashed griddle burgers, there’s something for every appetite at Dia De Los Takos.

Dia De Los Takos will also have a membership program. For $40, customers can purchase an embroidered hat, which comes with two free tacos. When customers wear the hat to Dia De Los Takos, they will receive 25% off their purchase, excluding alcohol.

While Dia De Los Takos has four employees that have been training for about two weeks, Valenzuela’s restaurant mindset and creativity continue to grow. Operating under the same umbrella as Dia De Los Takos is Ohana Hut. Ohana Hut is an expansion that operates out of a food truck.

Customers at Ohana Hut will find collaboration of Hawaiian and New Mexican cuisine located at Marble Brewery on the Westside. Valenzuela described Ohana Hut as “808 meets the 505” with menu items such as ramen, fusion, sushi, fresh albacore fish from Fiji and seared ahi tuna from Hawaii. In the future, guests can look forward to sushi classes held in collaboration with Marble.

Something Valenzuela has done with his business that is different from his past experience is acknowledging the importance of media and advertising. Valenzuela plans to air his podcast every Monday, featuring a new chef each week.

Courtesy Photo via https://www.facebook.com/diadelos.takos/

Working with video producers, Valenzuela, and the featured chef will make a taco. The video will then be shared and the taco will serve as a special at the chef’s workplace. Earnings made from the taco will go to a charity of the chef’s choice.

Valenzuela reminded ABQ-Live he is open to new ideas and collaborations within the business community, which may include youth mentorship such as teaching classes, internships, job shadowing and featuring chefs who have the same interests as Valenzuela to be positive lights with each other in the restaurant community.

Stay up-to-date with Dia De Los Takos on Facebook, Lets Takobout it w/ Chef Dom, featuring Facebook Live videos and external links to episodes of Valenzuela’s podcast. Dia De Los Takos is also on Instagram, where you can find mouth-watering posts of menu items and the latest information about Dia De Los Takos and Ohana Hut.