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[The Dish] Rockin’ Tacos at Birdrock Taco Shack


Saturday afternoons in Bradenton’s Village of the Arts have evolved into a mini ritual, bookended with gemstone shopping and taco scarfing. After a stop at The Village Mystic for selenite wands, a walk over to Birdrock Taco Shack for Baja-style fare is the flavorful finale.

At this eclectic little hideaway—which just shifted locations (still in the same neighborhood, in a century-old cracker home with patio room for Grateful Dead cover bands)—there are folded-up, savory bites for every palate.

One of the stars is the avocado bahn mi taco with pickled vegetables, pico de gallo, cilantro and lime on a corn tortilla (a twist on the Vietnamese recipe without the typical baguette). Birdrock’s chef and restaurateur Dave Shiplett actually pickles the veggies himself and scores his avocados from the local flea market.

This taco is exemplifies his belief that “food should be appreciated for its simplicity and the natural perfection of good ingredients,” says Shiplett, who is a classically trained French chef. “What makes a signature dish is some kind of simplicity in the preparation so it can be created again and again with the same high-quality, more complicated dishes.”

And simplicity is the common menu thread at Birdrock. To start things off, check out the avocado smash guacamole with tomato, lime and radish—confident enough in its perfect simplicity to be “nearly famous,” as the menu suggests. There is a slew of meaty and vegan options on the taco front—from the beef tamale corn husk, steamed with cilantro and chile butter; to the coldwater lobster nachos with Baja sauce; to the beet and goat cheese taco with sriracha and sunflower seeds. Burrito-wise, the pork carnitas with rice, beans, cabbage and pico is as crave-able as the Asian barbecue short rib with pepperjack queso and fried onion pico.

Each dish is reliably filling and easy on the finances. Seriously, a single $5 taco at Birdrock goes a long way when it’s jam-packed with protein. So wrap up a take-home taco for later, along with the aforementioned mystical finds. Both are good for the soul.

Birdrock Taco Shack, 1213 13 th Ave. W., Bradenton, 941-545-9966. 

Featured in SRQ Daily Tuesday Foodie Edition
By: Abby Weingarten | Published on: Tuesday, March 15, 2022 
Pictured: Avocado Bahn Mi Taco with pickled vegetables, pico de gallo, cilantro and lime. Photo by Peter Acker.