Is Utah’s best fried chicken found at this neighborhood taqueria?

If you’ve yet to try Facil Taqueria, you are in for a treat. The Olympus Cove eatery is about to celebrate its first brick-and-mortar anniversary. More than five years ago, Spencer Herrera and Dallas Olsen opened Facil as a food truck. Now nestled in an unassuming strip mall, the two, alongside their loyal team, have created something unique, adding to Salt Lake City’s culinary landscape. The food is outstanding. Olsen and his co-chefs have created an exciting menu.  A written testament to the culinary prowess of the restaurant. Herrera earns the credit for the excellent bar and cocktail menu, plus flawless hospitality. Facil Taqueria is the complete package. Twists on Mexican classics and new creations alike.  Adding to the finishing touch is the pairing of some seriously impressive cocktails.  Facil is a must try for any occasion. Date night or family dinner. You won’t be sorry.

Facil Taqueria is not a traditional taco shop. The menu is filled with Mexican classics, such as, Baja fish or chicken tinga tacos and chicken mole – chicken thighs smothered in mole sauce. Purists may scoff at the idea of a Nashville hot chicken or beef brisket taco. For me, the excitement lies in chef Olsen’s pursuit of creative expression. The chicken is perfectly fried, and I contend the best fried chicken dish in the city.

The brisket would make any pitmaster green with envy.  The menu selections are versatile and celebrate the talent of Facil’s culinary team. Each bite a delicious reminder of the extensive culinary backgrounds of Facil’s owners and staff. There is something for everyone.  Adventurous or finicky.  Facil is approachable for any diner. 

Facil Taqueria - exterior
Facil Taqueria – exterior
Facil Taqueria - interior
Facil Taqueria – interior

Facil began as a shared passion.  The duo (also a married couple) hoped to find a way to spend more time together. Olsen in fine dining and Herrera in the coffee world made it difficult to merge schedules. The conception of their first child became the catalyst for opening the food truck. Entrepreneurial spirit times two, poured both passion and energy into Facil. They built a loyal staff and talented team now working both front and back-of-house positions. Each member is important and integral. The team’s trust and most importantly friendship has resulted in a restaurant that clearly has a bright future in Salt Lake City. 

The restaurant’s ethos made so much sense after the team explained it. Facil, which means “easy” in Spanish, is the sentiment applied to the atmosphere. Food and drink that is chef and specialty driven and still comfortable enough to reach any audience. Olsen grew up in a home that didn’t stretch from traditional American food. He began gaining an affinity for Latin food after visiting a friend’s home for dinner. Now he fully uses his talent combining his fine dining prowess, and appreciation of Mexican food. 

Let’s talk more about the food. My inspiration for reviewing Facil came from my love of anything chef Olsen prepares. Every menu item has wowed me. My personal favorite is the Nashville hot chicken taco. Beautifully fried chicken nestled in a tortilla topped with a spicy chili glaze and house-made pickles. The flavor is the perfect balance of hot and sweet. The pickles offset the two dominant flavors. Fried to perfection, the chicken remains juicy, and the battered crust gives each bite a heavenly loud crunch. 

Facil Taqueria - birria tacos
Facil Taqueria – birria tacos
Facil Taqueria - tacos
Facil Taqueria – tacos

The Tuesday special is birria tacos, dish that has gained popularity in the last few years. Juicy slow-cooked meat with melted cheese in tortillas dipped in rich consomméé. I hadn’t found an iteration if this dish outstanding until my Facil experience. The meat was delicate and rich with an aroma of warm spices. A cumin and cinnamon bouquet. The cheese was just sharp enough to enhance each bite. The fatty consomméé was the touch of perfection rounding out the entirety of the taco. Rich, indulgent and well-executed.  This is precisely what you can expect from this place. They deliver that same standard every time.

As a food lover, I find it difficult to locate “food with a soul”. It’s discouraging.  Eateries with no real mission other than monetary gain are a dime a dozen. Facil is a gem. A refreshing reminder that our culinary landscape is becoming more progressive. Facil and other new and unique restaurants give me hope for what is to come. When I asked Olsen and Herrera about future plans for the restaurant, Olsen’s response added to the charm of their story. “I don’t know if we could recreate this. We built everything with our hands. Literally painted and did everything because we didn’t have money to pay someone for the work. I don’t know if we could capture this again.”

Facil Taqueria is one of a kind. It has a story containing love and friendship. A true recipe for success.  Well-executed food and beverages. An environment that allows people to fully enjoy everything, including the food which never plays second fiddle. A team with implicit trust in one another. This is reflected in the respectful front-of-house staff, delicious food, and welcoming atmosphere. No doubt Facil will continue to thrive. Find out for yourself. Enjoy delicious tacos with a margarita and take in the atmosphere. You’ll leave with a smile on your face. 

Facil is located at 4429 S 2950 E in Holladay.  A great menu including daily rotating specials. It is closed Sundays and Mondays. I asked Spencer and Dallas what items they recommend for a first visit. Spencer is partial to the chicken tinga tacos and Dallas the chicken Thighs in mole and the mushroom taco. Both advised pairing your meal with a margarita.  On Wednesdays they offer $5 beer and a shot known as the “borracho maker.” Pay a visit and experience this local gem. Excellent food and service.  It’s that easy. Viva Facil!

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