Rumcow owners Joseph and Abigail Sena, along with partner Ivan Moore, will open the doors to their newest concept, Tacobaby, 124 Grace St., on Thursday.
Joseph Sena said he received notification of the availability of the building in early spring and that it was a site he’d had his eyes on for a while, having taken an interest in further developing Grace Street.
“It’s the perfect quiet street and I love the idea of taking these old buildings and breathing new life into them,” Joseph Sena said.
Having taken over the space at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sena said the downtime of quarantine gave him the ability to take his time and enjoy the renovation process, noting that it was the first time he was not in a rush to get the doors of a new restaurant open.
Tacobaby’s menu is built around slow-cooked foods like duck confit, braised short ribs and pork belly that are incorporated into tacos and topped with fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses and salsas.
They will also serve several varieties of guacamole and queso, and appetizers such as street corn, gazpacho, tostones and hushpuppies with jalapenos and cotija cheese.
Chef Jose Garcia, a third generation cook from Oaxaca, Mexico, heads the kitchen at Tacobaby, bringing with him a family recipe book filled with 100-year-old recipes for traditional Oaxacan specialties such as mole.
Joseph Sena said Tacobaby’s design is more modern than that of Rumcow, which has a more rustic,
farmhouse look. And while Rumcow features a variety of rum-based cocktails, Tacobaby will feature over 40 tequilas and mezcals that can be incorporated into eight signature cocktails made with fresh organic produces and house made syrups.
Being that the restaurant was in development during the pandemic, it has been designed to operate safely under the current circumstances and with the future of the restaurant industry in mind.
“It’s really gotten me thinking about why we didn’t do some of these things before,” Joseph Sena said. “Why shouldn’t we have had hand sanitizing stations or contactless payment even prior to this? Why weren’t more restaurants set up to offer quality takeout? ”
Joseph Sena said despite the pandemic’s negative impacts, he feels there are important lessons that have come out of it and that it’s provided a good learning curve for the industry, making it stronger overall.
“If you’re able to respond effectively it can provide opportunities for growth and help us to be more prepared and better able to adapt going forward,” he said.
For now Tacobaby will serve dinner Tuesday through Saturday, starting at 5 p.m., with plans to open for lunch once Phase 3 of reopening is in place.
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