Reflections of a Restaurateur

Brandon O’Donnell of bartaco

An exclusive eskca interview with Brandon O’Donnell (general manager) of bartaco, which was honored in our:
Tell us your origin story. How did you come to be involved with bartaco?

I joined bartaco Hyde Park during the opening back in 2015. I had heard about bartaco opening in Tampa and made the move from Chicago to Tampa to be a part of something I knew was going to be very special.

What were the biggest hurdles you encountered in your journey?

When I joined the team, we were a young restaurant group, so we certainly had our moments of trying things that didn’t work as we had hoped. However, we always kept striving for more. More recently, the pandemic certainly posed an interesting curveball, but we made it our focus to evolve each week and continue providing an unforgettable experience for our guests.

What does the future hold for you and bartaco?

We’re very excited for the direction we are headed in. We have pioneered an incredible on-demand dining experience, and as an experiential brand, we are carving out a unique niche in the restaurant industry! The part that will never change is our commitment to providing the bartaco service our guests know and love.

What are your thoughts on the food scene in Tampa?

Tampa has grown immensely over the past six years since we opened in Hyde Park. It is now one of the top up-and-coming culinary destinations, and the food scene just keeps getting better and better!

What’s your best advice for aspiring restaurateurs?

Aspiring restaurateurs should be able to think outside the box. You also have to be introspective and not be afraid to “sniff your own armpits” so to speak.

Our readers love recommendations! What’s your favorite item at bartaco?

Without a doubt it has to be the Duck Taco and the Pork Belly Taco! We cure both meats in house and so much time and love go into those items!


For more exclusive interviews, see our full Reflections of a Restaurateur series