More than a year ago, there was excitement that Torti Taco was adding a downtown location.   The artist's rendering of a re-design of the old Operation Grad building at 56 East Michigan looked pretty impressive.  And then, the deal fizzled and it was back to square one.

Then last March we heard the news that Torti Taco was going to put the second location at 80 West Michigan, where Pastrami Joe’s had been until March of 2021.   Plans for the structure included a new garage-door-style entrance, outdoor seating, upgraded fixtures and finishes, an oyster bar, a performance stage, and moving of an interior wall to expand seating capacity.  Construction was expected to begin in April, but not much activity, if any has been seen.

Torti Taco Downtown Battle Creek-TSM Photo by Tim Collins

This week, signs went up for the business, and La Loma Construction Company banners were hung on the front windows.  Construction workers could be seen looking things over inside on Tuesday.

Torti Taco construction in Battle Creek-TSM Photo by Tim Collins

Torti Taco was awarded a Real Estate Improvement Fund (REIF) grant,  made possible by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The program helps entrepreneurs clear obstacles they might face in investing in downtown locations.   A release from Battle Creek Unlimited says an REIF grant can allow for the revitalization of vacant space, improving code compliance, resolving structural and mechanical issues, and supporting other upgrades to bring unoccupied properties back into productive use.

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Javier Fortoso opened Torti Taco more than five years ago, and it became almost an instant favorite in Battle Creek.  He said it still might take a while for that downtown location to open its doors.  "We don't have a target date yet, we are hoping sometime in October, but not so sure.  There is no hold up in the construction.  Its just timing.  everybody is busy."

In the meantime, visit Torti Taco at 5275 Beckley Road in Battle Creek.

Torti Taco 80 West Michigan Battle Creek-TSM Photo by Tim Collins

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