Andrew Savoie spent his 20s chasing the best chefs around the country. He went to Napa Valley to work for Thomas Keller, America’s only chef with two restaurants to score three-stars from Michelin. He headed to New York City to work for Jean-Georges Vongerichten, another three-Michelin-star restaurateur. He toured Maine kitchens working for his mentor Rob Evans, who’s considered to be the godfather of modern New England cuisine.
“By bouncing across all these restaurants, it was basically getting my master’s,” Savoie says.
Then he fell in love with a girl from Lake Highlands, Amy Clark (sister of our most famous rock star, St. Vincent, a.k.a. Annie Clark).
He moved to the neighborhood in 2003, when Dallas’ fine dining scene was still up and coming. Unsatisfied with his options, he made the leap to teaching at the Art Institute of Dallas, where he eventually headed up the culinary department.
“I was drawn to the pay, the flexibility, the 401k,” he jokes.
It allowed him to settle down and start a family, which now includes Stella, 9; Anna, 6; and Rew, 4. But when he was looking for a tasty, affordable place to feed his growing brood, he found himself constantly leaving the neighborhood.
“Lake Highlands was a food desert. There was nothing here,” Savoie says. “My wife said, ‘Why don’t you just open something?’ ”
So, he did.
Resident Taqueria made its high-profile splash on the city’s food scene in 2015, offering a menu where most items cost $3. Savoie prides himself on bites that target an elevated palate, but will appeal to anyone who appreciates classic Mexican flavors.
“It’s like I’m creating a composed fine-dining dish, it’s just served on a tortilla,” he says. “They’re not traditional tacos, but we do use a lot of traditional ingredients.”
The caramelized cauliflower taco was an early favorite, along with the pecan-smoked chicken. The specials board provides something new each week. Savoie gets playful with things like Philly cheesesteak or falafel tacos. The drinks menu is equally creative, ranging from a tangy cava sangria to a lively tequila de Squirt, which is exactly what it sounds.
The restaurant, tucked into the shopping center at Audelia and Walnut Hill Lane, has recently expanded its offerings. It added breakfast service, and can now send a taco truck to cater your party on site. Diners can also use curbside pick-up to grab a full meal with a protein and all the classic taco toppings, along with beans and rice, for $20-$42 for a family of four.
“We hear that the parking can be tricky here,” Savoie says, “this way families don’t have to get out of their cars.”
Ambience: Hip but casual
Price range: $3-$8
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; breakfast served Monday-Friday, 7-10:30 a.m. and Saturday 8-10:30 a.m.
9661 Audelia Road, suite 112