Kansas native Damon Workman has more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry, where he's worked front and back of house across the country for restaurant chains such as Taco Bueno, Steak & Ale and Joe's Stone Crab. His career with Cantina Laredo started seven years ago and led him through five state before he opened at Tivoli Village a year ago. Here he shares some of his favorite off-the-beaten track restaurants he frequents when he's not working.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you're not working?
I have a few restaurants I go to time after time after time. I always tell myself I should try something new, but when the restaurants are this good, why wouldn't I keep going back? Sin City Dogs, Novocento 900 and Tacos el Gordo.
What dishes are most memorable?
Memorable dishes, hmm, everything I've had at each restaurant is awesome, but these are my favorites. At Sin City Dogs I go with the Wise Guy. If you're wise, you know why. I recommend you try every single sauce they have. Each is delicious and different and I guarantee you will find one you love.
Novocento 900 does the most amazing Neapolitan pizza ever. I like the spicy salami and Buffalo mozzarella with their red sauce. Unbelievably delicious!
Tacos el Gordo. I know what you're thinking, "But he cooks in a Mexican restaurant. Why would he want tacos?" Just try them and you'll know. I have yet to find a better street-style tacos anywhere in the country than Tacos el Gordo. Adobada is my favorite, but you can get carne asada, lingua, cabeza. They do it all, and do it right. Throw some onions and peppers on it, a little lime and you are as close to heaven as you can get.
Why do you enjoy going there?
Everyone has their reasons for loving any restaurant they frequent. I'm no different. I love Sin City Dogs because I always seem to find the truck at the perfect time. After a great concert downtown or when a night out is winding down, they are the perfect food. To say they elevate the hot dog is an understatement! Did I mention their sauces? Ridiculously good food and cool people serving it go so well together.
Novocento 900 is close to me and they have truly incredible food. Again, how can you beat great food and great people together? If you have never been before, their staff will gladly educate you on everything they are doing and why. It is an all around amazing experience.
I love Mexican food. That is why I cook it. Walking in to Tacos el Gordo, seeing everybody cooking, carving, plating, putting all this delicious food out right in front of you, it is quite a treat. There is a great vibe of community there. You will never be alone, it's always busy, and with good reason. I started going there years ago when it was less than half the size it is now. It's so great to see their efforts rewarded by their success and growth.
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