We heard you’re preserving an old façade that was unearthed during the demolition phase of the construction of Authentaco. Is that right?
It was originally a hamburger joint [Snappy Service System]. I’m not going to mess with it. It’s a beautiful building. It just needs a little bit of love.
How will Authentaco compare with your other taco place, Picante?
Picante is the baby that started it for me back 11 years ago. It’s your average taco joint. The key to success is that I keep it running with fresh ingredients. It’s just a tiny store. Only half an address [It’s at 2016½ West Division Street. —Eds.] By size, by comparison, Picante is literally only 7 feet by 35 feet—245 square feet. The new one is 21 by 20, 420 square feet. We’re going to put up a really cool patio behind 1141. We’re going to try to winterize it.
What will be on Authentaco’s menu?
I am going to stick to heritage ingredients like huitlacoche. Corn smut. That one dates back to Aztecs, Native American Indians. Huitlacoche has one of the highest protein contents of the entire mushroom family. The reason I mention it [is] a lot of people see a disease when they hear the word “fungus.”
I will offer an al pastor with the same sauces, but offer it in sweet potatoes. I also will do a chicken al pastor. A lot of people don’t eat pork. Pork isn’t really very traditional. It’s the Spanish who brought the hog over to Mexico. The Spanish brought in the lard. There will be no lard in Authentaco. We will discard the lard.
I’m considering a pop-up window for doughnuts and churros. That seems trendy now.
Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised one block from the old Pasadita stand. I grew up on Marshfield. I am local and sustainable.