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John Huyck said he wants Tacovore’s new Corvallis location to be a “45-minute” vacation for patrons.

“Tacos are fun. Rarely, if ever, are you in a bad mood while eating tacos,” Huyck said, who is part-owner and overseeing the Corvallis restaurant.

The business opened in the former multistory Dairy Queen building in Timberhill Shopping Center last week, and so far, things have been busy.

Huyck said that the Timberhill area doesn’t have as many food options as other parts of town, so residents have been thankful for the new eatery.

He also credited the tacos, other food and margaritas for the restaurant’s success, of course.

Tacovore makes its corn tortillas to order, almost all of the ingredients are fresh, including the juice in the margaritas, and Huyck said the food is locally sourced as much as possible.

“As a chef, that’s pretty gratifying. That’s the sweet spot of cooking is when you’re dealing with fresh product. You need a big walk-in,” he said.

Plus, there’s attention to detail in every step of the taco-making process. Huyck said that prep work was key.

Tacovore originated in Eugene, and many Corvallis residents were already familiar with the business and eagerly awaiting its opening at Timberhill.

The lead line cook from Eugene moved north, and he’s helping to guide the new Corvallis Tacovore and is one of 38 employees there.

Huyck stressed that the menu is slightly different in Corvallis, however. “We’re not interested in making this a cookie-cutter. It has to have its own identity,” he said.

Tacovore offers traditional tacos, such as carne asada and fish tacos, but also has several vegetarian and vegan options and daily specials for carnivores, herbivores and pescatarians. So far, the carnitas has been the most popular option, followed by other traditional offerings. But the daily seafood special also has been selling well.

Huyck said that the vegetarian and vegan dishes are prepared and cooked on separate surfaces than are used for meat. “Honoring vegetarians and vegans to me, as a chef, it’s so easy,” he added.   

The business also has rice bowls, salads, soup, chili and ceviche on the menu.

Huyck said that the business will be adding a soft-serve ice cream machine as a fun homage to the Dairy Queen.

The building had been vacant for nine years before he started remodeling it, and upgrading the space took six months, Huyck said.

Huyck has a long history on the Corvallis dining scene. In 1991, he opened Bombs Away Café near Oregon State University, then sold that in 2010 to start the Corvallis Laughing Planet. He was part-owner of that Laughing Planet location for four years before the company restructured and he was made into a regional manager.

Tacovore, 2503 NW Kings Blvd., is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call 541-360-3919 or go to tacovorepnw.com.  

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Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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Business Reporter