Two things that Baton Rouge loves—tacos and Jay Ducote—will come together in early 2017 with the launch of Gov’t Taco.
After months of urging from fans to start his own restaurant following his near-victory on Food Network Star, Ducote has bypassed brick-and-mortar to sign on for a booth in the upcoming White Star Market food hall on Government Street. The booth will allow Ducote to bring his food to more locals than ever before, without the overhead of a freestanding restaurant.
And for Ducote, tacos felt like the perfect package to serve up his favorite flavors in the casual setting.
“The beauty of tacos is that it works in this market, and I still get to cook everything else that I love to cook and then just put it in a taco,” Ducote says.
Though it’s too early for most of Gov’t Taco’s menu to be nailed down, Ducote plans to develop five to six breakfast tacos and five to six lunch and dinner tacos, with an additional special taco of the day that will change regularly based on seasonal ingredients. The only item he’s certain about so far is a signature barbecue brisket taco, made with fresh brisket carved right in front of the customer and paired with his own Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce.
He describes the rest of the menu as “fairly small but well curated,” with seafood and vegetarian options in addition to more traditional meats.
“The plan is not to make authentic Mexican tacos. The plan is to make really awesome, speciality tacos that are influenced from my culinary trials and tribulations … It’ll be adaptations of [Mexican flavors] and our twist on a modern American taco shop, not a traditional Mexican taqueria,” Ducote explains. “Every taco on the menu is going to be a signature concept. It’s going to be very creative and very well thought-out what flavors we’re putting together on each taco.”
Ducote plans for his team to make all tortillas from scratch in the booth to maximize the variety and customization of his tacos, and he hopes to secure lard from Iverstine Farms’ pigs to cook them. As the 2017 opening date draws closer, Ducote will “absolutely” be seeking as many local ingredient vendors as possible for Gov’t Taco, for everything from meat to cilantro.
Currently, Ducote is eyeing lunch and dinner service Tuesdays through Sundays, with breakfast tacos available on weekends, though the schedule may change depending on demand. He hopes to assemble a small, well-experienced team who will not only man the Gov’t Taco stand but also become part of the Bite and Booze culinary family and contribute to product development.
Though Ducote will man the grill when the booth launches, he hopes to entrust his team of cooks with most day-to-day operations so he can continue to grow his blog, radio show, brand and product line.
Ten more local vendors will join Ducote at White Star Market when it opens next year, in a concept similar to New Orleans’ St. Roch Market. The market will be part of Square 46, the long-awaited mixed-use development at 4646 Government St. in Mid City.