Wapo Taco!, the Mexico City taqueria already making waves in Hallandale Beach, Florida for its authentic, always fresh, incredibly tasty appetizers, tacos, specialties, sides and desserts, is bringing its delectable housemade street food to Coral Gablesat 2526 Ponce De Leon Boulevard, with an open-to-the-public Grand Opening Celebration featuring free pastor tacos and Mexican beer from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. onFriday, July 10, 2015. Brought to the United States by veterans of the Mexican capital’s most notable taqueria, the 2,000 square foot, 80-seat Coral Gables locale will also launch an enticing new menu with tried and true favorites from their stockpile of perfected family recipes and refreshing new items.
Roots spread back to 1962 Mexico City, Mexico, when Wapo Taco! owners opened Taqueria El Farolito, a prolific locals favorite that now has 25 locations throughout the bustling Central American city. Cousins Francisco and Luis Musi, whose family’s business pioneered the method of charcoal grilling tacos (creating Tacos al Carbón, now a staple of Mexico City dining), are understandably well versed in the ins and outs of an urban taqueria. Wanting to address the limited offering of authentic Mexican taquerias in the United States, the Musis decided to bring their piece of Mexico City’s genuine flavor to The Magic City. The El Farolito brand has since been sold, leaving the U.S. stores the cousins’ main endeavor.
“In my hometown, a taqueria is a place for all,” states Francisco Musi, cofounder of Wapo Taco!. “Likewise, Wapo Taco is a place for diversity – our inviting, relaxed environment, delicious assortment of made-from-scratch dishes, unique flavors, and affordable prices – are meant for all to enjoy, and we are excited to bring that to beautiful Coral Gables.”
Musi is obsessed with staying true to what he feels has made his family’s taquerias so successful (fresh, quality ingredients, daily made-from-scratch salsas, marinades, stews and tortillas, and ancient Mexican cooking methods/ingredients) and although time-consuming and labor intensive, vows to endure using these ideologies. Diners at Wapo Taco! can thereby count on mouthwatering staples such as all-natural corn tortillas made fresh on a comal griddle from Mexico, fresh beef cooked atop an always lit charcoal grill, authentic pastor-seasoned pork and chicken roasted on a spit fire grill, daily housemade salsas, authentic Mexican crema and more.
Utilizing their family’s time-perfected recipes that incorporate complex, multi-layered flavors that stem from the use of a variety of chilies, herbs and spices, ancient methodology, and seasoned grill men brought straight from Mexico City, the essence of Mexico’s street food is sure to be captured in every bite. Appetizers or To Share($5.99-$11.99) items include Cebollitas Preparadas – grilled spring onions with lime juice, salt and Maggi seasoning sauce; Chicharrón de Queso – Gouda cheese grilled to a light crisp on one side and left warm and gooey on the other, then hand rolled into a flute shape and served with a side of fresh guacamole; Queso Fundido con chorizo – melted Oaxaca cheese topped with crumbled chorizo, served in a casserole dish with a side of fresh guacamole, roasted salsa verde and warm flour tortillas; Guacamole con chips or chicharrónes (fried pork skin) – a family recipe of smashed avocado with cilantro, chile, tomato and lime served with tortilla chips or freshly fried pork chicharrón; and Trio de Quesadillas, a classic Mexico City street food consisting of fried corn “masa” filled with three varieties: melted Manchego cheese and mushroom, melted Manchego and chicharrón, and plain Manchego, served with lettuce, Mexican crema, a side of guacamole and roasted salsa verde.
Tacos ($7.99-$10.99), served two per order on freshly pressed and grilled house made corn tortillas using the traditional nixtamalization process, include Carne Asada – grilled arrachera (skirt steak) garnished with cilantro, avocado and roasted chiles;Carnitas – tender and moist braised pork shoulder and belly topped with crunchy chicharrón, onions and cilantro; pork or chicken Pastor, the classic ‘al pastor’ made in its traditional form of marinating meat in a mixture of dried chiles, spices, almonds and achiote spice, slowly roasted and sabered from the spit grill into warm corn tortillas, topped with onion, cilantro and juicy pineapple; Campechano – grilled skirt steak, stewed chorizo and chicharrón with house salsa especial; La Bomba – grilled cactus, chorizo and melted manchego cheese with guacamole, pico de gallo and Mexican crema; Baja Fish – beer battered mahi-mahi, lettuce, guacamole, jalapeño salsa, and chipotle crema in a flour tortilla; Rosarito shrimp – charcoal-grilled shrimp with beans, rice, chipotle crema, and guacamole on warm flour tortillas; and Grilled Vegetables – mushrooms and cactus with melted manchego cheese, topped with guacamole, pico de gallo and roasted chiles.
Specialties ($10.99-$16.99) include the Wapa – warm pita bread stuffed with steak and melted manchego cheese and served with a side of guacamole; Costra – crispy outside and gooey inside grilled Manchego cheese, wrapped around grilled skirt steak and served over two flour tortillas with a side of guacamole; Gringa – pastor meat and melted Manchego on top of two flour tortillas, garnished with onions, pineapple and cilantro with a side of guacamole and morita sauce; Volcán Volcan –crispy chargrilled corn tortillas with melted Manchego and grilled steak, served with a side of guacamole;Tacos de Rib-eye, tender charcoal grilled Black Angus rib-eye on two corn tortillas with avocado, cilantro, onions and roasted salsa verde; Baja Shrimp Tacos – grilled shrimp, bacon, and melted manchego cheese topped with pico de gallo, avocado and creamy chipotle sauce.
Wapo Taco! boasts an extensive list of fresh, made in-house, mortar ground Salsaswith varying heat levels, flavor profiles and intended uses. Choices include mildvarieties such as Verde Avocado – tomatillo, avocado and Serrano peppers; Salsa Verde Asada – roasted tomatillo, onions, Serrano peppers and fresh cilantro; Pico de Gallo – chopped tomato, onions, Serrano peppers, cilantro, lime and salt; hot salsas including the smoky Salsa Morita – chipotle, tomatillo and morita peppers; Salsa de Molcajete – roasted tomatillo, tomato, Serrano and arbol peppers; Xinepec – pickled purple onions, oregano and habanero; and their sauce mixture Salsa Especial ($.99), a combination of three sauces – verde avocado, pico de gallo and a secret red sauce – served warm off the griddle.
Sides ($2.99) include a healthy heap of their family’s famous Guacamole; Chiles Toreados – roasted serrano peppers with spring onions marinated in lime, Worcestershire, Maggi, and salt; Frijoles Charros (cowboy beans) – mayacoba, or pinto, beans simmered with jalapeño, chorizo, crispy bacon and chicharrón; Esquites– a traditional Mexican street food of roasted yellow corn, served off the cob, and tossed in mayonnaise, chile piquin and lime juice; and Arroz a la Mexicana – fried rice with carrots, squash and corn. Desserts($5.49) include Paletas – seasonal fruit popsicles from Mexico’s first paleta makers, La Michoacana; Coconut Flan – a creamy yet dense caramel custard flavored with coconut milk; Pastel tres leches –a spongy white cake soaked in condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream; andImpossible Cake – a cool and dense chocolate cake topped with creamy flan.
To wash it all down, the masters at Wapo Taco! will offer traditional Mexican soft drinks such as the creamy Horchata – rice based water with cinnamon, milk and vanilla; andJamaica – a cold brewed tea made from dried hibiscus flower. Also on offer are draft and bottled Mexican and local craft beers ($4.49), as well as Micheladas ($4.99) including the Clásica – ice, lime juice and choice of beer in a salt rimmed glass;Michelada Cubana – iced beer, lime juice and Maggi, Worcestershire and Cholula sauces in a salt rimmed glass; Michelada con Clamato – iced beer with lime and Clamato juices, Maggi, Worcestershire and Cholula sauces in a salt rimmed glass.
Similar to its older sister in Hallandale Beach, Wapo Taco!’s inviting decor is both simple and fun. The spacious dining room is centered around the large open kitchen that boasts a white tiled, wrap-around, eat-at bar, seating 15, that shows-off the action at the charcoal grill, double spit fire, schwarma-style pastor rotators, and the tortilladoraand Mexican comal, both manned by their talented tortillera. Orange hanging light fixtures and floor-to-ceiling windows set a bright, festive mood. Above the kitchen, five big screen TVs dress the white walls, while colorful mosaic tiles dance on the opposite wall. A large mural displaying Wapo Taco!’s motto, “For the Love of Tacos” adorns the wall above the entrance. Comfy white stools sit along the bar and simple white tables with matching chairs are situated around the dining room.
Musi plans a Monday-Friday Happy Hour from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. with two-for-one beers as well as a late-night In the Biz Happy Hour featuring the same.
Wapo Taco!’s first US store front opened in Hallandale Beach on September 15, 2014. The 50 seat restaurant quickly became a favorite among locals in the area and continues to feed crowds of taco lovers daily.