"You can't be drinking a beautiful tequila and eating tacos and be in a bad mood," he says.
He's hoping you'll feel the same way today when he and Clyde Common Executive Chef Carlo Lamagna fling open the doors to Honky Tonk Taco in the old Sen Yai spot on SE Division Street.
Tilden, Lamagna, and their partners—Nick Guiskoff (Richmond Bar), Tyler Gaston (Olympia Provisions), Martin Schwartz (Olympia Provisions, Free House), and newcomer Lance Lovett—have decked out the 50-seat space with Wild West decor, and serve tacos, fundidos, chips, salsa, guacamole, tequila, mezcal, and frozen margaritas seven days a week.
Tilden calls Lamagna's tacos "inauthentically delicious," adding the Lamagna will scramble some "traditional" tacos with a few signature flourishes, like dry rubbing some of the meats with Filipino spice combinations.
The space will also boast an 80-person patio and parking for up to 10 vehicles.
But there are two aspects of the endeavor that should soon have everyone talking: competitive "taco fights" and the barbacoa Sundays.
The former is simple: Two local chefs will create a taco for Honky Tonk. Whichever chefs sells the most by month's end will be immortalized in a Lucha Libre poster on Honky Tonk's "Wall of Fame."
The latter, however, should really get people excited. Right now, Tilden says a team of masons is putting the finishing touches on an outdoor barbacoa pit. The plan? To wrap whole goats in maguey leaves and slow cook them for 12 hours every Saturday, so that the goat is ready to eat with tortillas, pickles, and hot sauces every Sunday.
He adds that each day of the week will soon have its own corresponding weekly special, so keep your eyes peeled.
Honky Tonk Taco: 3384 SE Division St., 503-384-2259; Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., daily
—Photos by Dina Avila