If roving food trucks with Twitter accounts represent this precise moment in vehicular culinary trends, permanently parked two- and four-wheelers might be the future. This summer has seen the arrival of Goods, a restored 1946 Spartan trailer in Williamsburg, and chef Alan Harding’s retrofitted ’62 Chevy Kustard King ice-cream truck outside Hot Bird bar in Prospect Heights. Both kitchens, rather than roam the streets of midtown or Bushwick, have settled into fenced-in berths, the former a landscaped patio built of wood salvaged from the Coney Island boardwalk, the latter a de facto biergarten. This weekend, Dario Wolos, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, and former finance executive, opens Fonda Nolita, a 2,100-square-foot garage where one of the three vintage Volkswagen buses he calls Tacombis has been parked since March.
Wolos launched the original Tacombi (taco plus Combi, the VW model) five years ago in Playa del Carmen, a bohemian beach town in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. A chance encounter with Aarón Sánchez, Centrico chef and Food Network personality, led to their partnership in a New York venture, where they would collaborate on the street-food menu and the casual, communal atmosphere. And so the spare, concrete-floored space (formerly clothing store Groupe Seize sur Vingt) has been outfitted with tropical plants and tables inscribed with Mexican-beer logos, as if they were company giveaways—a nod to south-of-the-border street vendors’ practice of repurposing every bit of their found environment. The centerpiece, though, is the Tacombi, dispensing breakfast tacos and coffee to start and, by next week, a rotating menu of tacos made with corn tortillas from Corona’s Tortilleria Nixtamal and fillings like agave-glazed pork belly, barbacoa short rib and tongue, and achiote-rubbed chicken. Sánchez promises vegetarian options as well, plus the occasional whole roasted fish, and seviches, tostadas, aguas frescas, and Mexican beers. But for Wolos, the food is almost incidental. What he aspires to is a leisurely vibe, enhanced by cooking classes and film showings, backgammon tournaments and televised sporting events—the sort of rooted ambience you can’t exactly find curbside, on line for the latest movable feast.
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