By KATIE FISCHER
ACWORTH, Ga. – Near the outskirts of Acworth’s downtown district, sitting in front of the railroad tracks is a very old, freestanding building appearing to be a gas station. A second glance at this building reveals not a gas station, but Trackside Taqueria.
This unique restaurant, which recently celebrated its one year anniversary, is the brain-child of Tom Mitchom and his former business partner. His partner used to own the Buckhead Burrito Grill that was located off of Cherokee Street in Kennesaw. When Buckhead Burrito closed its doors after 13 years, the two began making plans to open their own place.
“I had 20 years in IT,” Mitchom said. “I retired and we starting talking and decided to open a restaurant.”
After a period of planning, Mitchom became the sole investor and owner of the restaurant and, as he put it, he “somehow inherited a restaurant.”
With the project moving forward, Mitchom needed a location for his restaurant. No location was in mind for the restaurant, but the old, converted gas station was too good to pass up. The building, which was originally a Pure gas station in the 1930s, has housed many businesses over the years including a pizza restaurant and an electronic repair shop.
Its unique appeal was its location right by the railroad tracks that run parallel to Main Street, so that inspired the name Trackside Taqueria. The restaurant opened its doors in September 2014.
“We didn’t just want to be a Moe’s or Willies or a run of the mill place,” Mitchom said. “We took a different look at the way everyone else was doing it to see if we could find our own niche.”
With menu options that include a chicken pesto quesadilla and an Asian taco that contains ginger chicken and is served in a wanton shell, Trackside certainly sets itself apart from regular Mexican food joints. Traditional menu options such as quesadillas, nachos and burritos are available but are spiced up to fit the unique style the restaurant aims for.
With many different and edgy menu options, Mitchom is hoping to attract the 20- to 30-year-old crowd, explaining that they are more willing to try what the restaurant is offering.
Regular customer, Alex Nash, is part of that crowd and loves sampling the menu but keeps coming back to one item she can’t seem to get enough of.
“I just really love the coconut shrimp taco,” Nash said. “It’s not every day you find shrimp and pineapple. It’s just an interesting flavor combination.”
Crafting and executing such a unique menu is just one of the challenges, Mitchom said, that owning a business can present. Among them is finding solid workers to keep the business going. But Mitchom said he now has a solid team and praised his staff for their hard work and dedication.
Sasha Matté is one of those staff members. Matté, who has been at Trackside since April, enjoys interacting with the wide variety of customers who come in to dine. One customer in particular stands out.
“He comes in here just for cookies to make himself feel better after he goes on his dialysis and he feels like crap,” Matté said. “You know, doing little things to make people feel better makes me feel better about myself.”
In the coming months, Trackside plans to add an outdoor patio underneath the old gas station awning so customers can enjoy their food while taking in the sights of Main Street or even catch a glimpse of a passing train.
Mitchom posts all news about Trackside and any upcoming specials on the restaurant’s Facebook page.