ROCKINGHAM — The signs, they are signaling new businesses on the south side of Broad Avenue.
A “fresh Mexican grill” is promised for the old Huddle House site, and Harbor Freight has announced its new tool emporium in red, white and blue. Though the Pat’s Kitchen sign has yet to fall, ground has been broken for a Cook Out drive-through.
Owner Marco Mendoza spent Thursday morning covered in dust as he worked to turn the old Huddle House at 405 W. Broad Ave. into The Taco Factory. Opening is scheduled for early September.
“I’m an adventurous guy,” he said with a laugh. And “this is a new concept” — fresh meats and vegetables with the genuine flavors of Mexico.
The food will be served from an open kitchen, and include tacos, burritos, quesadillas and tortas stuffed with five meats — asada (beef), carnitas (pork), chicken, chorizo (sausage) and ground beef.
Customers will be able to choose complementary fresh vegetables and salsa ranging from mild to hot, as well as homemade guacamole and queso.
A display case will hold desserts, including flan (custard), filled churros and sopapillas (pastries).
Despite nursing a cold, Mendoza is doing much of the work of fulfilling his restaurant vision himself — covering wood-grain and pinkish Formica with old wood and granite, setting up the salsa bar and installing refrigeration for “fresca” sodas made Mexican style, with cane sugar and not corn syrup.
Mendoza, 24, grew up in Anson County and is part owner of restaurants in New York and Virginia. The Taco Factory will be the first that Mendoza and his partner, Ulisiss Rangel, 20, have worked on together.
On Thursday, Rangel’s father, Antonio, manned the pressure washer on the Taco Factory construction site.
Down the road, Harbor Freight will open July 11 at the far right end of Pine Ridge Crossing, 1788 E. Broad, next to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. The company, which sells everything from generators to lawn-maintenance equipment, is renovating space used by discount giant Walmart before it moved to its current location.
Cook Out, a purveyor of char-grilled burgers and 40 flavors of milkshake, has bought the site of the former Pat’s Kitchen at 1240 E. Broad Ave., county code enforcement officer Tim Combs said this week.
Because the lot is too skinny for a larger Cook Out, the company will build a drive-through.
An opening date was not available.
Contact Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673.