Rainbow’s End: Dining at Cactus House
Follow the rainbows to Cactus House for easy eats, big tastes and authentic Mexican fare
By Mike Fleming
Almost as eye-catching as the rainbow crosswalks just steps away is a glossy new rainbow-painted bench in front of a new Midtown eatery. But don’t just stop for another rainbow selfie. Go inside to Cactus House Midtown. You’ll be glad you did.
Before this 1020 Piedmont space opened in July, our gay brethren had to venture over to Buford Highway for true taqueria taste treats, or brave the Beltline for a fancy-schmancy version. Now less adventurous Midtown diners can find out what they, and our neighbors further south in Florida and Texas, already knew about the easy-breezy vibe and the hearty deliciousness that comes with the taqueria style concept.
Start with welcoming and casual atmosphere. No pretense means that you’ll fit right in wearing shorts when walking over from Piedmont Park with friends, but you’re also at home in jeans and date shirt with that special man in your life. Park in the deck at Azure on the Park, and Cactus House validates
All that’s required is your appetite, and by the way, forget Taco Tuesday. This is the place for fresh, natural and slightly upscale street-style tacos every day of the week.
“Cactus House was born out of our love for tacos,” co-owners Dane and Emilio told diners when they officially hung out their open-for-business sign. “Family dinners and homemade recipes inspired this love, and our menu puts a modern twist on those family recipes.”
But it’s more than that.
“We believe in serving a responsibly sourced and sustainable meal, so we handcraft our tacos from only fresh, natural, and local ingredients,” they say. “Cactus House isn’t a restaurant; it’s an experience.
Craft tacos include yumminess, like the best veggie-avocado taco you’ll ever try. With standard options like steak, shrimp and chicken, each specialty comes with its own distinct ingredients and sauces that work perfectly with each taco. The Lamb Barbacoa is the bomb, and the Chicken Pastor taco alone is like a party in your mouth.
The portions are a little small, but go in knowing that ordering lots of options to try and share is part of the fun. Add the tortilla soup, and speaking of sharing, definitely do chips and dips to help complete the meal and leave fulfilled. On top of that, nearly two-dozen sodas, including exotic choices just like real taquerias, are an adventure in themselves.
One more thing that is a must-add to your meal is three words, and we want you to remember them: Mexican. Street. Corn. If you’ve had it before, you’re already in. If you haven’t, it may be the thing that keeps you coming back here for more. Traditional crumbled white cheese, and a layer of melted pepper jack sauce make this on-the-cob treat sweet, spicy and savory.
Beyond the menu, the staff is super friendly, the décor is contemporary and modern, and the outdoor area is going to continue as a draw well into the fall. This is the perfect spot to grab a bite or a drink with a great location, fun atmosphere, and Mexican street corn. Did we mention the street corn?
Cactus House Midtown is at 1020 Piedmont Ave. in the Azure building. cactushouse.com, and on both Facebook and Instagram @chtacos.