It didn’t take long for the Mexicue truck to garner long lines after it first launched in 2010; New Yorkers queued up for the vendor’s unique blend of Mexican food and southern barbecue. Its success made a brick-and-mortar possible the next year, and now, Mexicue is retiring its truck and getting ready for a big expansion plus some changes to its concept: A full-service version of the restaurant just opened near Times Square (1440 Broadway), and a second similar outpost is coming to 225 Fifth Avenue later this year.
“We’ve focused on building the business,” says co-founder David Schillace, who owns Mexicue with Thomas Kelly. “Over the past two years, we’ve worked to find an investment team to take that to the next level with multiple units.” The partners plan to build six to eight Mexicues in New York City and then begin a cross-country expansion.
The concept has been tweaked along the way, and the Times Square location offers a glimpse of what future locations will look like. “This one is a full-service restaurant with a full bar and cocktails,” says Schillace. “The menu has expanded. But it will be quick table service — you’re not going to be sitting and waiting — and you can grab something to go as well.”
New items include a blackened brussels sprouts and mushroom burrito, a rice and greens bowl, a kale and blackened brussels sprouts salad, and a chile-crusted pork tostada. The drinks list, says the owner, is tequila- and bourbon-centric, which pays homage to the two cultures that form Mexicue’s roots. Look for a mezcal old fashioned and a bourbon-fueled take on the Moscow Mule.
As for the switch to full service, Schillace says it was a natural shift for the brand, which started out serving just three tacos and three sliders. “It’s been a growing process figuring out who we are and what the brand is,” he says. “This encapsulates who we are. It has a fun, energetic vibe. People can still do take-out and grab food to go, but they can also sit down and order a drink and cocktails.”
Mexicue in Times Square is now open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Look for the Fifth Avenue location to debut in October.
See more photos on the next page.