New pop-up Secret Lair Taqueria features specialty tacos (including pumpkin spice)

Richard Markert and Jared Dupont sometimes think of themselves as mad scientists, melding unique flavors together in their taco laboratory.  

Secret Lair Taqueria, a new specialty taco pop-up, debuted its concept at its first event this past Sunday, Sept. 18, at Tin Roof Brewing Company.

The goal behind the new business venture was for owners Markert, formerly executive chef at Olive or Twist, and Dupont to give Baton Rouge residents a different type of taco. Other than The Rum House, Markert says, there are few places to go for unique, speciality tacos. Every other option leans more toward Tex-Mex, he says.

The owners say they hope Secret Lair will fill that gap, using the tortilla as the canvas to “paint” a farm-to-table taco of international flavors. Markert and Dupont plan to source their ingredients locally as much as possible, aiming to use around 60-70 percent locally sourced produce.

Currently, Secret Lair is strictly a pop-up business, but the owners would like to eventually have a trailer or food truck—which could even lead to a restaurant location down the road.

Sunday’s event, The Damnable Debut, featured Markert and Dupont serving up four different types of tacos, island beans and verde rice.

Sunday’s taco menu featured:

The Cajun Veggie: roasted sweet potatoes, pecan-chipotle coulis, feta cheese, corn and a black bean slaw
The Didn’t Make It To The Other Side: shredded chicken, greens and goat cheese dressed with a special sauce
The What’s Up Tac(o)?: raspberry and rabbit
Pumpkin Spice: coffee-rubbed pork belly and a pumpkin aioli

Richard Markert dresses a taco at the "Damnable Debut" event.
Richard Markert dresses a taco at the “Damnable Debut” event.

Markert says these “out-there” flavors are what Secret Lair strives for.

“I wanted to wow people,” he says. “I want people to go ‘Oh, my gosh! A Pumpkin Spice taco?’ and I’m like, ‘Yes. Because why not?’”

On the menu board, each taco was paired with a Tin Roof beer, including the Bayou Bengal Lager, Voodoo Bengal Pale Ale, Perfect Tin Amber Ale and Juke Joint IPA. While the business is a 50/50 operation for Markert and Dupont, Markert credited Dupont for his brew-pairing expertise.

Secret Lair’s base menu, used to plan for future events, includes all four tacos featured at the debut event, but Markert says they’ll adapt and change up the flavors from time to time.

Secret Lair’s next taco pop-up

For now, Secret Lair will be a regular Sunday event at Tin Roof, with this Sunday, Sept. 25, 4-7 p.m., themed “The Tacoening.” Check out the menu here. More details can be found on the pop-up’s Facebook event page

Secret Lair Taqueria at the "Damnable Debut" event.
Secret Lair Taqueria’s Cajun Veggie and Didn’t Make It To The Other Side tacos