By Kevin Collison
Arthur Leduc of Kansas City Taco Co. has found the hunger for his non-traditional, urban taqueria so great he’s about to expand his River Market restaurant for the third time since opening two years ago.
“One of the reasons I wanted to open a restaurant in Kansas City is that I’ve never lived anywhere like this where the locals will rally around a local business,” he said.
“If you do a good job, the locals will support you. I’ve had opportunities to move to Overland Park and the burbs but I’m not interested.”
He’s also gotten some national publicity being featured in an August 2019 spot on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network.
Leduc is a native of Newport, Rhode Island and lived in Hawaii, California, Florida, Colorado and Seattle before moving to Kansas City in 2013.
“My wife is from Kansas City and I started visiting and liked it a lot,” he said. “I decided to get back in the restaurant business.”
But he wanted to prepare food that reflected his own life experience and the places he had learned about.
“I wanted my tacos to deliver something on a completely different level, not just traditional Mexican,” he said.
“I use tortillas to deliver a lot of regional places and flavors, Cuban, Hawaiian, cod from my New England background and Korean.”
He opened KC Taco Co. in a 1,300 square-foot space at 520 Walnut in 2019. It only had a few tables so he applied to the city that December to covert the sidewalk in front of the building into a 1,500 square-foot “parklet” for outdoor seating.
He didn’t get the permit until April 2020, but its opening provided a business lifebuoy as the Covid pandemic began shutting down indoor activity.
“It was huge,” he said. “We had four indoor tables and this was huge for business. We’ve done really well.”
So well, that in January he expanded his taqueria dining room into the adjacent 1,300 square-foot next door at 522 Walnut.
And now, he’s preparing to take over the entire ground floor of the historic Cromwell Building at the northwest corner of Fifth and Walnut.
He’s opening a new food concept in the 1,600 square-foot space at 524 Walnut.
“It will be a wood-fired, small plate and tapa concept,” Leduc said.
KC Taco also has a full liquor license to go along with its food.
The owner continues to enjoy being a part of the thriving River Market neighborhood.
“The vibe in the River Market is very positive,” Leduc said. “A lot of businesses have flourished since the streetcar came in. There’s a lot of tourists.”
Hours are Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., closed Sundays.
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