Courtesy Happy Belly Tacos
Mark Henry’s metric for success has changed over his time as owner of Rooster’s House of Ramen
. He’s more invested in helping his staff grow and improve as chefs, as servers and as businesspeople, he says. To that end, he’s financially backing former Rooster’s noodle chef Troy Burke and opening Happy Belly Tacos
just outside of downtown Springs, currently set to open on Tuesday, Sept. 11. While Henry will own the place, it’s Burke’s baby, and he’s head chef. Burke’s from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and he’s worked with Henry for almost a decade, by Henry’s estimate, going back to The Blue Star.
As a Burqueño, Burke grew up eating an array of Mexican and Southwestern flavors. His menu will feature a few seasonal and other specials, but it’ll mostly stay consistent, anchored on a variety of New Mexican, Mexican and Central and South American offerings.
“I know we want to do an authentic al pastor,” he says. “We’re going to have a spit grill, and we’re going to be carving off the al pastor to order.” They’ll also offer tacos de parrilla, tacos with caramelized cheese on the inside of the tortilla, under the fillings.
Happy Belly’s bar will be managed by Sarah Helfrich, general manager for Elevated Carnivore Group, which is the Henry-helmed umbrella company that owns both Happy Belly and Rooster’s. “We want to do an educated mezcal program,” says Burke. “Most people aren’t really mezcal drinkers or don’t even know what mezcal is.”
So, Burke and crew will stand ready to teach: “I climbed the ladder, busted my ass, and it looks like I get to do something I have my heart in,” he says.
Want a preview? Drop by The Archives
between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. on August 31 and September 1 for a late-night pop-up event. Archives owner Dylan Currier and his team will offer specialty tequila cocktails to pair with Burke and crew's tacos.