Miami’s oldest bar got a new owner and now a new taco menu

Whip up great guacamole

Gonza Tacos y Tequila executive chef David Peraza-Arce shares his guacamole-making wisdom with us.
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Gonza Tacos y Tequila executive chef David Peraza-Arce shares his guacamole-making wisdom with us.

The Anderson bar is going back —way back — to its taco roots.

Restaurateur Ken Lyon, who bought the rights to the Upper East Side lounge in early June from the Broken Shaker founders, is opening a separate taco bar in an expanded outside area named for the bar’s original name, El Toro. The taco bar opens Aug. 3.

“We just loved that name,” Lyon said. “It’s always been this neighborhood bar and it’s been there forever.”

Open since 1947, the bar has Miami’s longest-running liquor license, after the Brickell bar Tobacco Road closed in 2014, Lyon said. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, the bar became a jazz and blues haunt and stop-over for musicians headed to gigs on Miami Beach.


For 15 years, it was a popular jazzy piano spot named Magnum Lounge before the creative team of Gabe Orta and Elad Zvi, who founded the award-winning Broken Shaker, took it over and renamed it the Anderson. They turned it into a moody, retro cocktail bar popular with twentysomethings, where DJs and musical acts like Questlove might pop in for a night. (Miami developer Avra Jain remains the building’s owner.)

Now it will be reborn again.

El Toro Taco is the first step in rethinking the food and drinks at the Anderson, said Lyon, a one of the first tenants at the defunct Wynwood Yard.


The taco bar will serve eight different kinds of tacos, including vegan and vegetarian options. El Toro will mill its own corn to make the tortilla masa, and the corn will be prepared using a traditional nixtamalization technique that brings out the flavor of the corn (and incidentally, makes the masa more nutritious). Lyon said for the first few weeks they will buy tortillas from Steve Santana of Taquiza, the only local milling and making his own nixtamal tortillas.

El Toro will also make its own salsas, Mexican corn sides, churros and cold paletas (popsicles), some made with alcohol.

“When you have that kind of technique, you can taste the difference,” Lyon said.

Five different kinds of cocktails, Mexican wine, beer as well as a focus on tequilas and mezcals will help distinguish El Toro Taco from the bar inside, Lyon said.

The expanded outside area will serve as a happy hour ramp up for the lounge and a late-night hangout for the after-hours crowd. Lyon said he hopes to bring a piano back into bar to give it that jazzy feel.

El Toro Taco at the Anderson

709 NE 79th St., Miami

Hours: 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdsay-Thursday and Sunday. 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Monday

Even astronauts can celebrate National Taco Day. See how Expedition 50 commander Shane Kimbrough puts together a hybrid PB&J-taco on the International Space Station.

Miami Herald food editor Carlos Frías won the 2018 James Beard award for excellence in covering the food industry. A Miami native, he’s also the author of “Take Me With You: A Secret Search for Family in a Forbidden Cuba.”