Flying Santo taco bar brings Mexican flavor to downtown Sioux Falls

“There’s no better way to fit into the community than doing something you love,” Abe Castro said.

That’s exactly what he and his husband, Doug Sager, are doing with their new taco bar, Flying Santo.

Flying Santo will be located in the Jones421 building on Philips Avenue, where Papa Woody used to be. While the two don’t have an exact opening day yet, they said they’re planning for late June, but for sure July 4th.

Bringing Mexican Flavors from California to Sioux Falls

The couple left California two years ago – around the start of the pandemic. Their two jobs became completely distant, and since everything else was closed, they had nothing to do.

“During this time, we were starting to think, ‘Okay, why do we live here?'” Castro said. “If we could do what we do from anywhere, where would we want to live?”

He said their decision ultimately came down to quality of life.

Sager had visited Sioux Falls several times in his youth when his family traveled to Minnesota, where his great-grandparents had moved from Norway, and he always had fond memories of the town.

Castro also liked the choice: “Sioux Falls has a bit of everything.”

Abe Castro, left, and her husband Doug Sager are opening the Flying Santo taco bar in downtown Sioux Falls in June.

The two visited for a week in the summer of 2020 and decided to move. While Castro, who was born in northern Mexico, loved this place, he really missed the flavors of home.

Remote work was still isolating, he said, so opening a small store in Sioux Falls was the perfect idea.

“It’s definitely Abe’s brain child,” Sager said, but the theme they chose together.

The ’80s wrestlers who inspired Flying Santo’s theme

The idea behind the name Flying Santo started with one man: El Santo.

“Right now the world is kind of reliving the 80s,” Sager said. “I tried to think what one of the best things about the 80s was and, for me, that was wrestling. And El Santo – he put Mexican wrestling on the map.

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka was another ’80s wrestler known for his high-flying leap from the top rope of the wrestling ring. Sager said they wanted to incorporate these two characters into the Flying Santo.

There are two murals – one inside and one outside – which depict the combined figure and famous silver mask of El Santo. Both are surrounded by bright colors and the murals are the work of Jillian Artistry.

A mural outside the Flying Santo taco bar in the Jones421 building in downtown Sioux Falls has been nearing completion since May 20.  The artist, Jillian Artistry, will continue to add jewelry to the famous silver mask worn by Mexican wrestler El Santo.  The restaurant is expected to open in June.

“It looks like the theme is very colorful,” Castro said. “It’s just a lot of fun and we wanted it to be a welcoming and nice place.”

simple heart menu

The menu will include staples like tacos, quesadillas, nachos, burritos and bowls. There will be steak asada, carnitas, chicken, breaded shrimp, and a vegetarian option with all the toppings you’d expect.

The tortillas will be handmade in front of customers as they walk down the line and choose the toppings and sauces they want.

The goal is to use farm-grown vegetables and anything they can get locally, like steak and chicken. Flying Santo will also serve Mexican beer and street corn from Sonora.

The couple also plan to create monthly specials and possibly offer Mexican hot dogs or things like churros down the road, but the idea is not to make the menu overwhelming just yet.

“It will take time to find a rhythm,” Sager said.

There will be enough seating for around 14 people inside the restaurant, but customers can also take out their food or sit in other areas of the Jones421 building or in the courtyard when the weather is nice.

“It definitely comes from the heart, and that’s what real food is meant to be,” Sager said. “And it’s truly an honor to be welcomed into the Jones family.”

David H. Henry