KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Soccer Taco opened their first location in Bearden in the summer of 2005 around three concepts: authentic Mexican food, the importance of family and friends and fútbol (Or as we call it in America, soccer). Now, more than a decade after their first location opened, Soccer Taco has opened a third location in Northshore Town Center.
“We really love our Casual Pint neighbors,” said owner and manager Nelia Kirtley. “We love this neighborhood. The area is growing. A lot of development is coming here.”
Target and Publix opened at Northshore Town Center in 2012. Since then, the location has grown to include dozens of shops.
Soccer Taco’s newest location opened on Cinco De Mayo. “People told me I was crazy to open Cinco De Mayo, but it was great,” said Kirtley.
Since opening Kirtley said traffic is finally starting to pick-up, now that people know where they are located. “I really love to thank people in Knoxville, because they are great to us. They are the best and they respond to our concept,” she said.
Co-owned by Viviana Nicholas, Nelia Kirtley, Marilyn Parham, and Stefanie Houser or “the Señoritas,” as they affectionately call themselves, Soccer Taco’s menu was inspired by Mexican taquerías or “taco shops.” Each owner says they bring their own flare and special skill to the group.
Kirtley works closely with restaurant staff and is often the “face” of Soccer Taco. Parham, a certified public accountant, handles accounting, payroll, taxes, and other business details such as permits. Houser is the designer of the team. Her influence can be seen in areas such as the décor, menus and Soccer Taco’s website.
“It’s been a great experience to open a Mexican restaurant and people love it and people really appreciate that and we are really happy and we hope that we keep growing more,” said Kirtley.
As to a fourth location, Kirtley wouldn’t give any hints to the location or opening date, but she did say she is always looking. “I just want to keep growing and sell more Mexican food,” she said with a laugh.