My Montrose: Katie Castellano, Yucatan Taco Stand
Castellano is the general manager of the Yucatan Taco Stand, which opened in October on Montrose Boulevard between Hawthorne and Harold Streets, in the location formerly occupied by Berryhill Baja Grill. The Fort Worth-based restaurant has five locations in Texas and Oklahoma.
How long have you been with Yucatan?
It’s coming up on four years. I started in Fort Worth as a bartender, and just slowly moved into more and more positions. They ended up needing somebody in The Woodlands when they opened their first restaurant there, so I moved down to Houston for that. Even then, we knew we were going to eventually open in Montrose, and I knew I was going to be the general manager. We’ve spent the past half-year building out the restaurant. We officially opened on October 6.
How is the restaurant doing so far?
There’s been a good turnout. Because it opened around the holidays, we knew it wouldn’t be too crazy at first. We’re definitely picking up steam from day to day. Pretty much every piece of feedback I get from customers is very positive. They love the space, the margaritas, the outdoor bar—and the patio especially. There aren’t a whole lot of patios in this area, so that’s a big deal. Once the weather gets better we’re going to add more seating, and we’re also talking about putting in a mini-stage in for live music.
Montrose already has a lot of Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants, not to mention taco trucks—what is Yucatan’s niche?
We’re not really Tex-Mex, which is what most people expect when they come in. We’re more of a Latin American restaurant. We pull from a few different areas. Our tacos are not like street tacos. They’re fully loaded. I eat two as a meal at the most, whereas with street tacos you can eat five and still be hungry. We’re actually toying around with some new menu items as we speak that are pulled from the Yucatan peninsula. Each Yucatan location is a little bit different. For instance, the location in The Woodlands isn’t open for brunch because there just isn’t a market for that.
What makes this Montrose Yucatan distinctive?
As an outsider looking in, Montrose feels like a small town within a big city. There are big-city things in it that you wouldn’t find in a small town, like eclectic food, but there’s also a community feeling. There are people who have lived here for a very long time, and are very knowledgable about the businesses—who started them, the people who run them. I know a lot of the houses have been flipping and things have been changing, but it’s very different from The Woodlands. We’re still trying to figure out what we can do to better serve the community here. We’re thinking about putting up some artwork. We donate food to non-profits in the area, including Homeless Gay Kids-Houston, which is just down the street. We bring over tacos once a week for the kids there.
Yucatan Taco Stand, 3407 Montrose Blvd. 832-740-4922. yucatantacostand.com