Touch of Grey News: Greatfull Taco Loses Its Chef

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photos by Troy Fields
The "mystery meat" taco is actually ground bison, and it's damn good.
The Grateful Dead once said that "the first days are the hardest days," and owner Paul West is finding that out firsthand at his new restaurant, Greatfull Taco (named for, yes, the Dead).

Chef Riccardo Palazzo-Giorgio has left the restaurant after only a few months, citing "irreconcilable differences" with West. It's a shame, not just because the food under Palazzo-Giorgio was top-notch stuff, but because Greatfull Taco is the subject of this week's cafe review. And it was too late to remove our glowing references to Palazzo-Giorgio's in the print edition, despite attempting to yell "Stop the presses!" all the way across Texas to Dallas, where our printers are located.

But it was worth a shot.

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Meanwhile, the sous chef at Greatfull Taco, Miguel Romero, is still on board. So there's that. But it's starting to feel as if between this and the recent Stella Sola review that unintentionally corresponded with chef Justin Basye's departure, we're seeing the beginnings of a curse around here.

On the other hand, it could just be that West might be difficult to work with, something supported by this week's review itself as well as the first post we ever wrote about Greatfull Taco: "Self-Described 'Elitist' 'Asshole' Opening a Restaurant." Whatever the reason, I can only hope that the restaurant keeps up the quality of food it offered under Palazzo-Giorgio, who has moved on to new projects.

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And while it's too late to amend the print review now, it's not too late to say that chef or not, Greatfull Taco still has some truly great things going for it, like a poolside ambiance despite its location on busy Shepherd and its excellent wine and beer selection.

You'll notice on that beer list that low-end beers like Lone Stars and Bud Lights are listed at roughly the same prices as craft beers like Scrimshaw or Left Hand Milk Stout. West laughingly said that it's an effort to discourage adjunct lager drinkers away from those beers and to American craft beers instead.

I can see where the man might be difficult to work with, but it's hard to argue with philosophies like that.

For more photos from the restaurant, check out our behind-the-scenes slideshow.



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Location Info

Greatfull Taco - CLOSED

2411 S. Shepherd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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12 comments
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Pat Mintz
Pat Mintz

We LOVED Grateful Taco...please reopen..the brisket tacos were wonderful!!!

Steve Marques
Steve Marques

What is it with Houston restaurant owners and their Chefs.  I hope the owners I work for don't loose their minds anytime soon.  These sort of stories make me think about calling ITT tech.  

iMidget
iMidget

Why does everyone use the word "loose" instead of "lose"?  I'm not trying to be picky here but just wondering why 9 out of 10 use the incorrect one.

mollusk
mollusk

Loose educational standards, that's why.

Glwqne
Glwqne

Who knows what to say about this: chefs are usually egomaniacs, as are owners who think they are omniscient foodies...just look at what's happening at UP in Highland Village or Brasserie 19 on West Gray. It's an ongoing capital/labor struggle....

tastybits
tastybits

I sincerely hope to see Riccardo Palazzo-Giorgio in another Italian restaurant soon. One of the better Italian chefs in Houston is out of place at a taco joint, even a good one.

Jim Ayres
Jim Ayres

I had a late lunch here today and both the Viola Lee and the Wharf were delectable. Maybe the one chef's departure won't affect the product too much. But I must say that in your comment on the room - colorful as it is, see above - "pricey interior decorator" might be stretching it just a wee bit! 

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

When I look at those blown glass fixtures and those mega-huge flat screen TVs, I think, "Someone spent a boatload of cash here." :D

Kelli
Kelli

Im actually a little upset with Bill.  The breakfast tacos are always stellar, but yesterday I ordered 3 different tacos, and only got 2 tacos completely different from my order.  Not bueno Bill.

Ray
Ray

It's going to suck if a great place like this closes because the owner is a prick. In those oh so famous words, "Can't we all just get along?"

Sveltegirl
Sveltegirl

There were also a number of 'for sale' yard signs posted on the parkway in front of the restaurant. Maybe done as a joke....or who knows.

FlaniganDes
FlaniganDes

Those yard signs are actually "Now Open" signs, not "For Sale" signs, but the impression is indelible and perhaps like Kansas might sing "Dust in the Wind" if these guys don't learn how to advertise to more than the traffic passing by...to whom, I'm sure, looks like they're going OUT of business instead of just starting out. 

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