If you’re a late-night-eating, carb-and-cheese-loving, three-too-many drinks kind of person like me, than Nacho Borracho might just be your new favorite nighttime hangout, with food served until 2 a.m.
“You have to try the nachos,” owner Rachel Marshall told me, before I stopped by the bar and restaurant on Broadway. “Our queso is awesome. We start with a whole block of real cheddar to make the sauce. Since we use queso instead of grated cheddar, the chips are much easier to pick up and there isn’t that weird hardening that happens.”
And she’s right. I recently downed a plate of the nachos for dinner, washed down with a frozen Blood Orange Moscow Mule, and there was nary a piece of hard cheese to be found.
Nacho Borracho has been open for 6 months now, at 209 Broadway East, near Charlie’s. Marshall says the initial launch of Nacho Borracho was a little rocky, for several reasons:
First of all, she said people didn’t seem to really understand that Nacho Borracho is primarily a bar. Yes, they have those carbs I mentioned to help curb the effect of swilling the margaritas on tap; but it’s still a bar. The menu is small and the food is cooked to order, but drinks are the main focus.
Secondly, Marshall just had a baby and doing anything with an infant adds a layer of complexity to life.
Thirdly, Broadway is a tough place for any new business, now that the Pike/Pine corridor has become the hip spot for nightlife.
Fourthly, Marshall and co-owner Kate Opatz aren’t exactly bored. The friends opened up the Capitol Hill bar Montana last year and Marshall is always busy with her other business, Rachel’s Ginger Beer.
But, despite some negative Yelp reviews at launch, Marshall says business is really picking up and she’s feeling good about things.
“You know, Montana hit its stride immediately,” she told me. “Nacho Borracho has been more difficult, but we’re still really excited and proud of it. And people seem to be really getting what it’s about now.”
Marshall also says she’s proud to have opened on Broadway, despite it being a tougher challenge for bars and restaurants.
“Broadway is so cool,” she said. “I love driving down it and looking at all of the neon lights and beautiful trees. Broadway deserves some investment. Sure, it’s harder. But it’s worth it. I’m glad we’re taking the risk, working really hard, and taking the time to nurture it.”
The atmosphere at Nacho Borracho is dark and relaxed. It’s bigger than Montana, but has Marshall and Opatz’s signature: giant booths.
“We wanted it to be dark, cozy, and friendly. We like booths you can disappear into,” she said. “We really want to go for un-pretentious. Kate and I like to open places where we’d like to go. And we really thought there weren’t a lot of places for great nachos on the Hill.”
Marshall spent months working on the cocktails before the launch of Nacho Borracho. She wanted to make sure they were offering something new, not the same drinks on the menu as at Montana or RGB Market. You’ll find interesting frozen concoctions like avocado margaritas (I wasn’t brave enough to try one), different fruit-flavored Moscow Mules, and the “Vitamin T” made with fresh-squeezed orange juice, passion fruit, tequila, lime, and curacao. They also have classics like margaritas and negroni on tap.
On the menu, you’ll find the regular nachos as well as “totchos,” made with tater tots instead of chips. There’s also wings, flautas, and plenty of other options to completely ruin whatever diet you’re currently on.
If you’re sick of always eating late-night pizza at Hot Mama’s and Mario’s, or whatever’s being served up by the food carts, Marshall says she’s wants you to stop by.
“It’s really important that we stay open and serve food until 2 a.m.,” she said. “Even if it’s slow, there may be that one person who just got off work who really wants something to eat. If we’re closed, that’s a really bad experience for them and they may not come back. So trust us, we’ll be open.”
And that’s the overall theme for Marshall when it comes to running her businesses: consistency.
“You need to have good employees, consistent service, and consistent hours,” she said, when I asked about the key to her success. “People are fickle and one bad experience can make you lose them forever.”
209 Broadway East