TODAY, TUCKER’S MAIN STREET district is a bustling destination including restaurants, shops, and local businesses, but it wasn’t so long ago that it had a very different vibe.
“It was like tumbleweeds; there was nothing out here,” says Chris Cordero, who owns Growler Time, one of Main Street’s most popular restaurants. “Now it’s revitalized, and more and more people are coming to Main Street to try something new.”
Thanks to a major multimillion dollar renovation and streetscape design, Tucker’s Main Street district—and its restaurant scene—is thriving like never before.
Luis Finley, owner of The Local No. 7, says the changes have been positive and have improved both the look and feel of the community. “Taking the street from four lanes down to two, adding more greenery, putting up wreaths and lights at Christmas— it’s a nice feeling out here,” he says.
Finley has worked to build a sense of community on Main Street; he is the founder of the annual Tucker Chili Cook-off, held annually in March. He even sought out local input when opening The Local No. 7 in 2011. “They wanted sandwiches for lunch, a family-friendly environment, and a place you could watch sports on TV,” he says. And they got it. Located next to the railroad tracks, The Local No. 7 is a also a popular spot to watch trains go by; the bar offers “Woowoo” shots for $2 when one passes. Finley has plans to open a barbecue restaurant on Main Street in the near future.
TRIED AND TRUE
Along with The Local No. 7, Las Colinas and Growler Time were among the first to open on revitalized Main Street and continue to draw crowds.
Las Colinas, popular with groups and families, is a favorite spot for authentic Mexican food, Texas-style margaritas, and $1 tacos on “Taco Tuesdays.”
Originally opened as a growler store, Growler Time now also includes a restaurant serving tapas and homemade flatbread pizzas made from Cordera’s personal recipes. With 39 taps, it’s a popular meeting spot for locals, and still offers beer and wine growlers.
Cordero says he appreciates the sense of community among Main Street’s restaurants. “Everyone has each other’s back. I can go over to Local 7 if I need a high chair and they will loan it to me,” he says. “Everyone is very neighborly.”
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
Main Street’s resurgence has continued with new restaurants such as Village Burger, which is known for its Angus beef hamburgers and crispy onion rings. Manager Justin Beaudrot says that since opening, “there’s hardly ever an empty seat.” Born and raised in Tucker, he credits the restaurant’s success to locals. “The people here like to support local businesses. Plus, I recognize about half the people who walk through the door,” he says.
Chef/owner Mikiel Arnold opened a second location of his popular Peruvian restaurant The Freakin Incan on Main Street in late 2017 after noting the success of The Local No. 7. “I like how Main Street is laid out, and that it is walkable to nearby businesses,” he says. Customers pack the restaurant for traditional dishes such as ceviche, saltados (stir fries), seco de res (braised beef), and pisco sours.
But the pioneer of Main Street’s restaurant scene is Matthews Cafeteria, which opened in 1955 and is known for its daily-changing menu of homestyle fried chicken, mac and cheese, biscuits, fried pork chops, pies, and a host of other Southern favorites, all made from scratch. Family-owned and operated, the restaurant is a popular destination for locals, including the Tucker High School football team, which can be seen here fueling up before most home games.
“That’s what so great about Tucker,” says Cordero, “It still has local personality and a small town feel you don’t find in a big city.”