Switchback, a new taco bar, aims to fill a niche for lower-cost, fresh cocktails and eats downtown.
Co-owners Dan and Lindsay Gearig opened their Mexican-inspired street food restaurant last week at 741 Main Ave. in the space formerly home to Mountain Taco.
The menu features traditional Mexican fare such as Sonora dogs – hot dogs wrapped in bacon and served with black beans and pico de gallo – and elote, corn on the cob smothered with a creamy sauce and Cheeto dust.
Tacos at the eatery can feature steak, chicken, smoked brisket and smoked tofu.
The couple said they have heard from residents that the high cost of restaurants on Main Avenue keep would-be diners from eating out as much as they would like, so the business owners aimed for more affordable dishes. Tacos are $2.50 each, elote is $3.50, a Sonora dog is $7 and the house margarita is $6.
It’s a menu with items meant to be mixed and matched.
“We really want everybody to experiment and try different items,” Lindsay Gearig said.
As natives of Detroit, the couple said they paid special attention to their Sonora dog and found dogs with natural casing to ensure the meat will snap when customers bite down.
“We take our hot dogs very seriously,” Dan Gearig said.
The couple ran successful food trucks in Detroit, specializing in tacos and macaroni and cheese, before moving to Durango to open the taco bar – determined they were ready for a brick-and-mortar restaurant after serving diners in the middle of Michigan winters and dealing with mind-bending logistics.
“Food trucks are for the youngsters,” Dan Gearig said.
The restaurant also allows the couple to interact with customers more rather than serving up meals from a truck and sending customers on their way.
“We are not a traditional Mexican restaurant; we are building a hangout,” Dan Gearig said.
The two bought the Main Avenue building in April and immediately gutted the space on the same day to completely replace the decor.
“We wanted a place with clean lines, a nice airy feel,” he said.
The restaurant’s name was months in the making and came to Lindsay Gearig as the two were taking a drive on a county road and observing switchbacks cut into a mountainside.
“We wanted something cool and a salute to the mountains,” Dan Gearig said.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Switchback is closed on Mondays.