Amore Victoria owners opening Nico’s Taco Bar on Hennepin

The husband-and-wife restaurateurs behind Amore Victoria are opening “Nico’s Taco Bar” in the former Birdhouse space at 2516 Hennepin Ave.

Alex Victoria said he has a few recipes up his sleeve — his mother is Mexican, and she makes “fabulous salsas and really good tacos.”

“I’ve always wanted to get my hand in it,” he said.

The restaurant would take over Birdhouse’s patio and restaurant footprint, providing a full-service restaurant and a variety of tequilas and margaritas. The Birdhouse closure is part of the reason they decided to take a chance on a Mexican restaurant, Victoria said.

“[Chef] Stewart [Woodman] did a really nice job with the remodel there. The remodel is not one year old,” Victoria said. “He set up the kitchen pretty nice.”

Nico’s price point would be similar to Chipotle, Victoria said, but the food is authentic Mexican, inspired by the country’s small eateries and taco stands. He’ll stick to local meats, organic cilantro, and cheeses common in Mexico — queso fresco or the feta-like queso Cotija, for example. The salsas are made from scratch with roasted red peppers.

The restaurant is named after the Victoria’s middle son Nico.

“He loves to put everything in a taco,” Victoria said. “For years we’ve been talking about Nico’s tacos. … We’ve got the perfect name.”

The opening is targeted for early September.