SouthBound, the 7,000 square-foot Southern California-inspired taco bar, is set to open within the next week next door to Mac’s Speed Shop in South End. And apparently NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson is involved.

Johnson’s buddy, Dale Earnhardt Jr., accidentally scooped the info on Twitter. David Jewell of The Jewell Agency, which is working with SouthBound, wouldn’t go into more details on Johnson’s involvement, but said we can expect to learn more about it after the spot at 2433 South Blvd. opens in the next few days.

Here’s what else we know about SouthBound:

Food

Kevin Kuruc, the head chef at Mac’s Speed Shop and second place winner of the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, has been cooking for about 30 years.

After going on a field trip to San Diego and downing lots of tacos, he decided he wanted to open up a SoCal-inspired food truck. The idea just kept growing from there.

“Let’s make it a lifestyle thing,” he said. “Let’s really bring Southern California to Charlotte.”

Kevin and his team will be making homemade tortillas, marinades and sauces while also using simple, fresh ingredients like Mexican cheeses, cilantro, lime juice and citrus.

“We’re starting off not very aggressive,” said Kuruc. “We’re using really good ingredients and not messing with them. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here.”

The a la carte menu will have items for less than $10. Tacos will run around $3.50 each. SouthBound will also have Mexican moles, a few tamales and enchiladas.

“We want to be a destination on this part of South End,” said Kuruc. “Between Mac’s Speed Shop and here, we’ve got something for everybody.”

Drinks

Larry Suggs, who formerly worked under Bob Peters at The Punch Room, is the head of the cocktail program at SouthBound.

“What stuck from me working with Bob is the passion on doing things the right way,” said Suggs. “Now I get to incorporate it at SouthBound with my own bar program.”

Suggs kept the drinks approachable. You’ll find everything from margaritas to Mezcal cocktails priced between $5 and $12.

“I pictured myself on a beach in San Diego when coming up with these drinks,” said Suggs. “I didn’t want to drink heavy spirit cocktails, we’ll leave those for other people. Here, our drinks are bright, refreshing and citrus forward.”

The space

The space was designed by Cluck Design and features a taco bar and an outdoor entertainment area.

“We want this place to be an oasis even in the winter and fall months,” said Larry Suggs, head bartender at SouthBound.

Outdoor entertainment area
Walk up taco bar
Exterior booth design made out of beer bottles and LED lights

Raleigh-based artist Clark Hipolito from The Art Co designed the giant atrium mural that sets the SoCal tone throughout the entire space.

View more of the restaurant here.

Hours and location

The restaurant will be open 11 a.m.-2 a.m. seven days a week and located at 2433 South Blvd., next to Mac’s Speed Shop in South End.

If you’re interested in applying for a job at SouthBound, click here.

Photos: Sallie Funderburk

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