Chef Jose Alacron’s taco party kicks off today at 11 am at 1414 NE Quincy Street in Northeast. Centro is the first restaurant, part of a dual upscale/casual situation draws directly from Oaxaca for some of its rich and flavorful fillings in the affordable little snacks and tacos.
The former adhesives factory is unrecognizable, with a central bar and a counter for ordering. It’s unclear if it will also open today, but there is also room for a patio and eventually there will be a takeout window.
Taco fillings include chicken, beef cheeks, lamb, pork, nopales (cactus paddle), mushrooms and plenty of chiles, but hold onto your beige palates, Minnesotans. The chile flavor doesn’t always equal spicy. Alacron described the chiles he uses in the cacahuate salsa, “It’s really bright with almost a floral quality - not spicy at all.” That salsa is a blend of peanuts, chile oil and black sesame seeds that appears in the trio of salsas and the vegetarian nopales taco.
Tacos are $3 and $4, raw bar prices vary and snacks are mostly less than $8. The bar has several summer-ready cocktails like a margaritas on tap, mescal-spiked slushie, condensed milk and bourbon with shaved ice and a Michelada garnished with worm salt.
Centro was born at Lyn 65, where Alaron first hosted Popol Vuh pop ups. When he and Centro’s owner Jami Olson first toured the building next to the train tracks in Northeast, they knew the space demanded two restaurants and decided to launch this party-vibe spot first. Popol Vuh is expected to open just before September of this year.