Monday, June 10, 2024

That's all, folks: Tacos El Porky closes on Avenue A after 3-plus months

Photo by Steven 

Tacos El Porky has shut down after three-plus months at 151 Avenue A between Ninth Street and 10th Street. 

On Saturday, the South Florida-based business announced via Instagram: "Our New York restaurant is closing its doors permanently. Thank You to all the people that came and tried our food; we’ll miss you! But… The Party continues in Miami!"

The taco shop debuted in late February ... taking over from its sibling El Primo Red Tacos, which came and went after four months. Owner Frank Neri previously told us they couldn't make enough money with the limited beef birria menu.

The closure comes after management appeared before CB3 for a beer-wine license last month and pitched to use the backyard space — a proposal with seven tables and 28 seats. (According to the minutes from the public meeting, they were also on the August 2020 docket for a similar ask but "refused to appear" before the committee.) 

While CB3 gave conditional consent last month for the beer-wine, the committee stated Tacos El Porky could not use the backyard space for dining. 

A lot of locals also spoke out against this applicant's quest to use the outdoor space. According to the minutes from the May meeting: 
We have received a petition in opposition to the backyard use, and late night/early morning hours, signed by 143 nearby residents. The neighbors state that the applicant has been using the backyard for staff use, including cleaning mats, pots and pans and other kitchen equipment late at night causing noise and disturbances, as well as letters in opposition from the church next door, and ...

We have received complaints about the applicant giving away and selling margaritas and shots. The applicant states that it was wine/agave-based tequila. We have photos of the applicant advertising these drinks, as well as a menu submitted that lists margaritas and shots, with no mention that it is agave-based. A resident asked the staff about the drinks and was told that it was real tequila and triple sec and shown a bottle of triple sec, and ...

Five residents, including a representative from the 9th St. A1 Block Association, a co-owner representing residents of 149 Avenue A, and a representative from a condo association at 272 E. 10th Street, appeared to speak in opposition to the late-night hours and any use of the backyard. 
As a reminder, tacos can work in these spaces (without the backyard). San Loco was in the south storefront at No. 151 for 15 years until February 2014.


noble neolani said...

Waring to all restaurateurs looking for a future in the East Village, look elsewhere.

Sleepless in EV said...

@ 9:28 AM

Why do you say that? It was stated that San Loco survived there for 15 years.
Perhaps the neighbors realized that El Porky's was not forthright in their business dealings, leading to distrust regarding the request for the patio usage. Rightly so, based on the article's reporting.
Kudos to CB3 for recognizing the locals concerns.

Seems as though El Porky's business model wasn't thought out very well, does it?

An EVer said...

The business model was very weird...just a few items on a menu? I need more options than that for our family to order a meal. Apparently there was no certificate of occupancy for the backyard--this is for customer use. And they were simply asked not to make big racket late at night by employees or leaving the back door open late at night while music was going. If use of backyard for customers was really a big deal for the business they should have done their due diligence before signing a lease. It def seemed like the kind of place that didn't know what they were doing, which was odd since they have a history of restaurant elsewhere in Florida. The only warning needed is to do some basic research before opening a business.

COZMOS Anton said...

A shame - I'd gotten used to going there every tuesday for their 2 dollar al pastor deal - no better deal in the neighborhood for tacos. And it was very tasty too. We'll see who the next tenants are.

EV Them said...

Ugh they had the best taco deal around. A shame they never got to properly use the backyard either, seemed nice back there!

Shadowwhispers said...

Boo, I didn't get a chance to give them a chance.

Anonymous said...

Food was great, but the layout of the space was terrible: Long walk through a mostly empty hallway to the tiny kitchen in back, where the employees were mostly out of sight around a corner.

East Village Community Member said...

Both Tacos El Porky and El Primo Tacos operated as disrespectful and disruptive neighbors. The owners initially refused to go before the Community Board with their request for a beer and wine permit, which is standard procedure for all businesses operating in our community. Then they served tequila without a permit. They were not interested in hearing the concerns of area residents and made late night noise on a regular basis, disrupting the peace in our community. A large group of area residents repeated asked them to keep the late night noise down and were opposed to the disruptive use of the rear yard, but they were not responsive or interested in resident concerns. Residents opposed to the commercial use of the rear yard are welcoming and supportive of restaurant businesses in the area that operate in a respectful and responsible manner. A previous pizza place operated successfully out of the same space for many years.