Trend-setting Fort Worth taqueria Calisience closes location on Race St.
An award-winning Fort Worth restaurant that helped usher in a hot taco trend has closed: Calisience, an independently owned taqueria from Jacqueline Anaya, closed its location at 2707 Race St. after barely a year.
Anaya courageously took ownership, stating that the closure was due to her own inexperience in the restaurant industry.
“For months I have attempted in every way possible to keep our doors open,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I refuse to blame this on the economy. I take full responsibility. There’s many factors but the main cause is simply my lack of knowledge on how to run a business at the start of my journey.”
Calisience started out in the summer of 2020 as a food truck parked in an empty lot on East Belknap on the city’s east side. At that point, during the height of the pandemic, many local restaurants were struggling as diners were skittish about eating indoors. To combat those fears, Anaya developed a drive-thru system, similar to that of a fast food restaurant.
The truck was an instant hit, attracting sold out crowds that waited up to two hours for Anaya’s scratch-made food.
A self-taught cook who utilized family recipes while also developing her own, Anaya helped usher in a local renaissance for birria, a traditional Mexican dish consisting of meat slow-cooked as a stew in various spices and peppers. Anaya’s rendition of birria was made with beef, which she simmered for six to seven hours.
Her signature item was tacos dorados, pan-fried corn tortillas filled with beef birria and Monterey cheese, then grilled on a flat top until their edges were crispy. They were served with onions, radishes, cilantro, salsa and consommé for dipping.
"The birria recipe comes from my grandmother, who's from Guadalajara, the city where this style of taco originated," Anaya said in 2020. Anaya also served birria in burritos, quesadillas and in her signature birria ramen.
Jacqueline Anaya of Calisience reacts to winning Best New Restaurant. Photo by Ashley Gongora
The success of the food truck led Anaya to open a brick and mortar in 2022, just a few blocks from where the truck was located. The new location featured an expanded menu and, just recently, the restaurant began serving breakfast.
Notably, Anaya used the money from the truck to open the restaurant. She did it herself, without outside investors.
Calisience went on to win awards including the prize for Best New Restaurant at CultureMap’s 2023 Tastemaker Awards.
Anaya called the closure "extremely difficult."
"I tried everything I could," she said. And reviving her food truck is not an option: "I actually sold my truck a few months ago to stay open," she said. "I'm going to take a couple days to pray on it. I will say this isn't the last of it. I know that."
The closure comes just days after another business on Race Street, The Post at River East, announced it will close February 29.
Last year, three other restaurants on Race Street closed: Tributary Cafe, the Bon Appetit-lauded La Onda and vegan burger spot Zonk Burger.
Anaya wrote in a Facebook post that she might reopen in a different location.
“As of today, I do not know where I will land next,” she said. "I have given all of my time, effort and peace to this business and I need some time to regroup. I will take this time to reflect and better prepare myself for my next venture or the possibility of reopening.”
She also offered gratitude.
“These past four years have been an incredible ride for my team and I,” she wrote on Facebook. “Fort Worth opened its arms and gave us the opportunity to share what we had to give…To our patrons, thank you…..it was you that made all this possible.”