Mon-Sat, 11:30am-11pm; Sun, 11:30am-10pm
F, G at Carroll St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Beard St. to Livingston St., Nevins St. to Columbia St.
When opening Calexico’s first brick-and-mortar location in Carroll Gardens, first-time restaurateurs Dave Vendley and his brothers Jesse and Brian found it wasn’t easy building the place pretty much on their own, using income from their two food carts. “You take one tile out of the floor and you realize the floorboards are warped and you have this new problem to deal with,” Dave told us. They serve the items you know and love as well as crack-sauce–laden torta and salad versions, plus new dishes such as shrimp and grits and daily specials such as ribs and tamales. When the beer-and-wine license comes in, there’ll be micheladas too, but for now, expect Mexican sodas and daily aguas frescas. Vendley calls the look of the place unique “but still your modest taqueria,” with a blown-up picture from their hometown of Calexico, California, as the centerpiece, and hand-painted Mexican folk art on the walls.