tacos and tortilla chips in red baskets / sfgirlbybay

i’ve always held a super secret desire to own a restaurant — no, really! and friends have come to call my house their “favorite restaurant” — victoria’s restaurant, and that may be as close as i actually come. but i love to cook and have a few signature recipes i often get requests for. so when i was invited by CNBC to take a stab at creating my own pop-up restaurant, i was intrigued and excited! their third season of CNBC’s show Restaurant Startup starts this wednesday, january 6th at 10pm est and to celebrate, i’m designing my own pop-up restaurant! we’re also giving away a Restaurant Startup themed pack to one lucky reader — if you’ve ever wanted to start your own restaurant, then this is the ideal package to inspire your restaurant dreams.

pop-up taco restaurant / sfgirlbybay

if you’ve not seen the show, Restaurant Startup pits restaurant moguls, Joe Bastianich, Tim Love, and Elizabeth Blau against each other to invest their own money in restaurant concepts they think can make big profits. Contestants have 36 hours and a $7,500 budget to create a pop-up restaurant — putting their concepts to the test, creating a business plan, a branding campaign, and finally, launching their dream restaurant and testing the food and concept on the public. In addition to the two investors, celebrity chef Antonia Lofaso consults the contestants on the best way to showcase their food, design, and overall idea. i wonder what she’ll think of mine?! here goes…

taco restaurant interior design inspiration / sfgirlbybay

one whole wall will be covered with a black & white cactus mural. and a bright white ceiling will be lit up with mint green Ivanhoe Sky Chief Warehouse Porcelain Pendant lamps with red cords. i’m also going to string bright lab lights in custom colors from the ceilings. on each table i’ll place cute cacti planted in re-purposed, colorful vintage cans.

taco restaurant interior decor inspiration / sfgirlbybay

so, let’s say I have 36 hours and $7,500 to spend on food and interior design — what would my overall food concept and interior design look like? i gave it a lot of food for thought, and for me i think my signature fresh fish tacos are likely to be my most popular dish, and a really fun concept to design a pop-up restaurant around. thus, tori’s tacos it is! my pop-up will focus primarily on my signature tilapia fish tacos, encrusted in bread crumbs and lightly fried — topped with fresh chopped cabbage, cilantro, avocado slices, my homemade pico de gallo salsa and my special ingredient – my special sauce! and of course, a squeeze of fresh lime. along with that, i’ll have homemade chips and guacamole on the menu, as well as aqua frecas and cold beer. that’s it — just a simple taco stand pop-up with the only the freshest ingredients.

floral oil-cloths and modern picnic tables / sfgirlbybay

i think my pop-up taco shop will look festive and just a bit kitschy with wood & red trimmed picnic tables covered in mismatched floral oil cloth with matching benches, giving the space a communal, friendly vibe. and my famous fish tacos will be served in cute red baskets with red checked paper liners.

red taco baskets with red and white checkered liner paper / sfgirlbybay

to enter to win this restaurant start-up kit from CNBC, simply:

• comment below letting us know you the kind of pop-up restaurant you’d create with $7,500 in 36 hours.

• please comment by monday, january 11th, 12pm PST.

• as always, be sure to leave a way to reach you via twitter, facebook, email or your website.

• sorry, this time the giveaway is for U.S. residents only.

• we’ll announce a winner selected by random number generator on my twitter account the week of January 11th, so be sure and follow along.

• remember to watch the premiere of Restaurant Startup wednesday, january 6th at 10pm est!

Here’s what’s included in the giveaway!

Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer — A landmark, bestselling business book and a fascinating behind-the-scenes history of the creation of Danny’s most famous eating establishments.

Grilling Set Flavors by Chef Tim Love. Investor Tim Love is known for his masterful skills on the grill. Channel your inner ‘Love’ with the Chef’s grilling set, featuring a salsa, rub, and BBQ sauce.

• Joe Bastianich’s cookbook Healthy Pasta. Investor Joe Bastianich is also well-known for his Italian cuisine. Impress the investor with your take on his classic meals.

• Antonia Lofaso’s cookbook The Busy Mom’s Cookbook. Consultant Antonia Lofaso knows that life is a balancing act and that it takes a bit of time and effort to make a great meal. Cook like Antonia and impress the investors.

Table Reservation Book — Every restaurant needs to keep track of its upcoming reservations. Use this book to track who will be dining at your table or as a daily planner.

Wine Pairing Towel Set — A good meal is made even better with the right wine. Use these towels as not only decoration for your place but as the ultimate guide to wine pairing.

Premium Popcorn Gift Set — Watching TV means needing snacks! Take your TV snacks to the next level to impress our Startup crew with this premium popcorn set.

Chef Works Basic Coat — Are you ready to make it on Restaurant Startup? Every good chef needs to look like a pro – start with this basic chef’s coat!


my favorite fish taco recipe / sfgirlbybay

• photography by lily glass for sfgirlbybay.

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