The heart of Soccer Taco formed in 2005 around three concepts: authentic Mexican food, the importance of family and friends, and soccer. Founding owners, including current co-owner Viviana Nicholas, set out to create a Latin sports bar, which meant emphasizing fútbol (soccer). They developed a menu inspired by Mexican taquerías (‘taco shops’). And after much debate – at one point owners considered calling their new restaurant Taco Goooooal – everyone agreed on the name Soccer Taco. The first restaurant opened on Kingston Pike in Bearden late that summer and was a hit!
In October 2008, Nelia Kirtley, Marilyn Parham, and Stefanie Houser joined Viviana as co-owners of the restaurant, completing the Soccer Señoritas team.
Each owner brings her own flare and special skill set to the group. Nelia works closely with restaurant staff and is often the “face” of Soccer Taco. Marilyn is the financial partner. Because she is a Certified Public Accountant, she handles accounting, payroll, taxes, and other business details such as permits. Stefanie is the designer of the team. Her influence can be seen in areas such as the décor, menus and website.
Over the years, the Señoritas have worked together to fulfill their vision for Soccer Taco. The company expanded to a second location in Market Square, which opened August 2009 and includes La Cueva del Chango (The Monkey Cave), a downstairs bar perfectly suited for the Market Square scene. The restaurants are consistently named at the top of various area “Best Of” lists, including Best Mexican Restaurant, Best Margarita, Best Nachos, Best $5 Meal, Best South of the Border and Best Sports Bar as voted by Metro Pulse, Cityview and Knoxville News Sentinel readers and WTNZ-TV Fox 43 viewers.
Today, Soccer Taco continues to emphasize its original concepts. Both locations offer a wide selection of authentic Mexican cuisine, including several dishes you can’t find elsewhere such as pozole (hominy soup with pork) or tacos filled with lengua (tongue) or cachete (cow’s cheek). Soccer fanatics will find themselves at home with at least ten flat-screen televisions broadcasting soccer and other sports events from all over the world at each restaurant. The Soccer Taco team is a fun family. Inevitably, that spills over and creates an enjoyable environment for customers. Each of these details make Soccer Taco a truly unique experience.
Nelia V. Kirtley
Marilyn A. Parham CPA
Stefanie P. Houser