A love for south-the-border fare took Brian Gorder to the top of Mt. Washington. After an uphill battle, his restaurant, Gordo’s Tacos & Tequila, is slated to open at 131 Shiloh St. by Labor Day.

The menu features Mexico City-style street food with an emphasis on braised and smoked meats. Everything, including the corn and flour tortillas, is made from scratch. Gorder grinds the corn into masa himself.

Al Pastor, the signature taco, is made with adobo marinated pork, stacked on a vertical rotisserie called a trompo, carved onto a tortilla and topped with onion and pineapple. You can wash it down with a wide assortment of tequilas and mezcals. Gordo’s also boasts a juice bar, as well as house-made seltzers.

Rendering courtesy of Gordo’s Tacos & Tequila.

Planning for the two-story eatery began nearly three years ago, but Gorder’s affinity for cooking started when he was a teenager. The South Hills native helmed various country club kitchens, which exposed him to different styles of food. He studied culinary business at Penn State University and worked for Jim Patrinos and Nick Nicholas of Primanti Bros., teaming up with them at the Diamond Market Bar & Grill in Market Square. When that property was sold, Gorder decided to venture out on his own.

He bought a condemned building on Shiloh Street that at one point housed a tattoo parlor, a barbershop and two apartments. Gordo’s will soon boast large windows and garage doors that open, along with two bars and seating for 120.

While renovating the structure, Gorder ran a pop-up version of Gordo’s Tacos & Tequila out of Taco Diablo in Mt. Lebanon, which was in the process of changing ownership.

Image courtesy of Gordo’s Tacos & Tequila.

For several months he fine-tuned his recipes and his logo.

The Dalmatian with a taco hovering above its head is his beloved dog, Roxanne. “She and tacos are my two favorite things, so why not,” he says.