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Calexico Launches Delivery

The one thing that's been missing from the newly-opened Calexico (besides a liquor license, of course) has been delivery. Since opening in February they've been telling customers that delivery was on the way, and it finally started last Thursday. They suspended it yesterday to work out some kinks, but it's starting back up today for good, an employee told me.

There are two other brick and mortar locations of the Cal-Mex chain, which started as a cart in SoHo, and both of them deliver. Now you can enjoy your chipotle pork quesadillas with crack sauce, carne fries, and pollo asada tacos in the comfort of your own home.


Taco Santo Launches Brunch, Palo Santo Gets a New Sign

Some news from the Santo front: Taco Santo, the taco shop from Palo Santo chef/owner Jacques Gautier that opened on Feb. 1 and has been pretty much packed ever since, has rolled out brunch, according to a release. Available Saturdays and Sundays from noon on, the menu includes items like tacos placeros (eggs, rice & beans, avocado, and pickled jalapeños), tacos de confitillo (eggs, poblano, onions and tomatoes, above), huaraches, and several new quesadillas. It's inspired by what's sold at the Atlixco and Los Reyes markets in chef de cuisine Alejandro Bonilla's native Puebla, Mexico.

Across the street, the more upscale Latin-American restaurant Palo Santo (which has the same owner as Taco Santo, Jacques Gautier) just got a new sign that's quite a bit more visible than their previous one, and also reflects the style used on Taco Santo's sign.


New Restaurant Under Construction in Melt Space

Melt, the restaurant on Bergen Street just east of Fifth Avenue, appears to be the latest local business to pull a "Closed for Renovations" fast one on the neighborhood. The neighborhood spot closed under those pretenses back in September and never reopened, and while the signs are still posted to the front windows, workers in the space that I spoke to last weekend assured me that Melt was gone for good, and a new restaurant is coming into the space.

They were tight-lipped about what exactly is in the works, and wouldn't reveal a name or even style of food. I'll keep digging, but in the meantime it appears as if we can pour one out for Melt.


The Soup Bowl's Chef/Owner to Open Restaurant on 9th Street

Richard Gussoff, the chef behind the popular Soup Bowl on 7th Avenue near 9th Street, will be opening a full-service restaurant called Uncle Arthur's Cafe on 9th Street near the northwest corner of 4th Avenue, in the space that was last occupied by Italian deli Catene. Above is the sign that went up inside the Soup Bowl last week; construction is wrapping up and the restaurant should be open in about two weeks.

Gussoff, a Park Slope native who lives in the neighborhood, spent 19 years as chef/owner at three restaurants in Hell's Kitchen (seafood spot Sag Harbor, trattoria Pietrasanta, and Rachel's American Bistro) before opening up The Soup Bowl four winters ago and a second location in Prospect Heights the following year. He told me that this restaurant will draw inspiration from all his prior menus, including The Soup Bowl. "The menu will be eclectic American cuisine," he said. I'll be serving pastas from my trattoria, other dishes from the menu at the bistro, and three to four soups on the menu at all times." There will also be plenty of new items. The menu "will be a good size, but not like a diner menu," he added. "I like a lot of options. The more the merrier." Sample menu items include pecan-crusted chicken, blackened salmon, fish tacos, and linguine with chicken, and an extensive side vegetable selection that includes Brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash, corn pudding, and quinoa.

Like The Soup Bowl (which will be closing on Friday and returning again next year), some of the ingredients will be sourced from greenmarkets daily, and will largely dictate what's served as specials.

The restaurant will seat about 40, including 8 or 9 at a custom-built bar. Only beer and wine will be available because of the proximity to a church, but there will be a nice selection of wine and predominantly local beers. To cater to the commuter crowd, they'll be operating as an upscale coffee bar during the earlier hours, serving coffee from Staten Island-based Unique Coffee Roasters.

The vibe will be casual, and offerings will be inexpensive: entrees will start at $12 and top out in the low 20s. "My feeling is, you should make the room comfortable, treat your customers well, and make it affordable," he added. 

Bottom photo via Lost City



El Gran Castillo De Jagua to Move into Z-7 Diner Space up Flatbush

It's been known for a few months that the landord who owns the building that's home to Dominican restaurant El Gran Castillo De Jagua has been trying to push them out, and it appears as if he's accomplished that task. They'll be closing up shop at the end of March, but luckily, they're not moving far.

Over the weekend 7-Z Classic Diner, the mediocre eatery that replaced the popular Parkside Diner in 2012 on 7th between Park and Sterling, shut down, and signs were put up in the window saying that "El Gran Castillo de Jagua is relocating to this location." I took a short walk to Gran Castillo, which has occupied the corner space six storefronts away for the past 40 years, and a manager told me that they'll be leaving the space on March 31.

It was previously rumored that they'd be moving into the gutted space up the block last occupied by a mattress store if forced to close, but this is actually far more promising news, for obvious reasons. It's still a decent-sized space, and there's already a long counter and a full kitchen. It appears as if the Z-7 folks packed up pretty quickly and left most of their equipment behind, so hopefully the closure doesn't last for too long.

This stretch of Flatbush Avenue is one of the most-coveted stretches of real estate in the city at the moment, and landlord Stuart Venner of Vlacke Bos Realty has been in the process of booting out other tenants of this prime corner, including a barber shop and bakery Little Miss Muffin ‘N’ Her Stuffin', for months. An emergency care facility is slated to move in the space next door that has been vacant since 2011; hopefully the fact that temp signage has been up for 10 months is not an indicator that this corner will remain vacant for years as well.

Gran Castillo has been the anchor of this block for decades, but it's nice to see that they'll just be moving a few storefronts up. The manager assured me that the menu will remain exactly the same.

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