Have you heard about the latest trend in food trucks? It’s bricks and mortar. After helping to establish a thriving food truck scene in Providence, and making mobile food the most buzzed about culinary trend in the city right now, Alan Masterson and Chris Gilchrist, the proprietors of Poco Loco Tacos, made the decision to go off road with a traditional storefront.
Fear not, food truck aficionados. The self-proclaimed “best damn taco truck in town” isn’t going anywhere – or rather, it’s still going everywhere. But now, Poco Loco will have a permanent home at 2005 Broad Street in Cranston’s charming Pawtuxet Village, their all-new “best damn taco shop in town.” It was a natural move: they had already been leasing the space for the kitchen. “We figured we have the storefront sitting there, we might as well use it,” sums up Masterson.
Poco Loco first hit the road in 2010. Like many food truck proprietors, Masterson and Gilchrist saw the truck as an easier, more affordable alternative to a bricks and mortar restaurant. With years of experience in Tex-Mex cooking, including stints at Cactus Grille and Jake’s, as well as in California, Masterson wanted to get into the taco business. It turned out to be a wise move, as they quickly built up a loyal following among the Downcity lunch crowd and the late night West Side bar-goers.
The menu is fun and plays to its audience, offering inexpensive comfort food for carnivores and vegetarians alike. With crowd-pleasing flourishes like the signature Napalm Sauce, a quesadilla stuffed with chorizo, and the option to add bacon to anything, Poco Loco is decidedly uninterested in fussy pretensions and food snobbery. “A lot of the stuff on our menu is not authentic Mexican, clearly,” admits Masterson, “but it’s delicious. There are 100 different things you can throw in a taco. It’s portable. It’s good street food.”
The move to a storefront is an opportunity to augment, rather than take away from, their business. For proof of that, one need only look back at their grand opening, when the truck had to be parked next to the shop just to handle the overflow crowd – the demand has been that enthusiastic. “We tried to do a soft opening and it didn’t go soft,” explains Masterson. “We announced the grand opening for Saturday; we flipped the sign on Wednesday figuring we’d get a few people. We sold out of food pretty much every night that week.”
The shop will feature all the favorites that made the truck so popular, along with a few new items like nachos, dirty rice and avocado fritters – fried nuggets of guacamole that Masterson calls “our little signature thing in here.” Poco Loco plans on having a big summer, and they’re already off to a good start. “It’s been kind of like a phenomenon,” says Masterson. “We’ve been blown away by how busy it is.” 461-2640 or text 281-YUMM (9866) to find out where the food truck is at any time.