RuRu's taco

RuRu's Tacos + Tequila plans to open its first franchise store at 129 East Bay St. by the end of January.

McCrady’s, arguably downtown Charleston’s most serious restaurant, is about to gain a next-door neighbor with a decidedly different outlook.

“We just try to have a lot of fun,” says Sean O’Brien, managing partner of RuRu’s Tacos + Tequila. The 4-year-old Charlotte restaurant plans to open its first franchise store at 159 East Bay St. by the end of January.

According to O’Brien, the Charleston location of RuRu’s will precisely mirror the original, save for the availability of outdoor seating. “We have probably the nicest patio in Charlotte,” O’Brien says. “As far as space wise, East Bay is not going to have that.”

But the two restaurants will share the same Mexican-influenced menu, notable for its puns and other whimsical names: RuRu’s customers have their pick of dishes, including I’m Your Wingman (a chicken fajita); Shirley You Can’t Be Serious (a vegetarian burrito); Why So Serious (a ground beef taco) and You Got No Legs Lt. Dan (a tofu rice bowl).

“All of the names are taken off comedies,” O’Brien says. “We try not to be too authentic.”

Still, O’Brien says RuRu’s prides itself on fresh ingredients, including the lime juice for its margaritas. “We don’t use any pre-fab products,” he says. “It’s fresh produce, fresh meat and fresh seafood.” On Yelp, RuRu’s has a respectable 3.5-star average rating from more than 300 reviewers.

RuRu’s, which will be owned in part by restaurateur Richard Stoney, isn’t the only new taco shop readying to open in the neighborhood. Hawaii’s Maui Tacos earlier this year announced its intention to open one of its first six mainland locations at 200 Meeting St.

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

Food editor and chief critic

Eating all of the chicken livers just as fast as I can.