The owners of Pop’s Garage know how to run a restaurant. In fact, they have run five of them along the Jersey Shore, as the New York Times points out. At Pop’s Garage, they pour more than 85 years of restaurant experience into their kid-friendly, BYOB Mexican taqueria. While evoking the festive, summer atmosphere of Sayulita, Mexico, the restaurant's ambiance exudes an upscale dining atmosphere.
Pop’s menu consists of made-to-order dishes, each handcrafted from locally sourced, natural, and organic ingredients, including fresh lettuce and vegetables. Taco shells are packed with chicken and chorizo, quesadillas ooze with cheese, and burritos are stuffed with ruby rice. Just as genuine as the ingredients are the recipes they are made from. Explaining to the New York Times, “Our intent is to be authentic. . . . One of [the chefs] makes his mother’s mole, a red mole,” which is just one of the menu’s several mole sauces.
When Baja Fresh opened its doors in 1990, freshness wasn’t on the menu at many fast-food restaurants. Disappointed with soggy burgers and floppy fries, the founders built a casual Mexican eatery around fresh, colorful produce and a commitment to healthy living. Cooks prepare meals by hand, using ingredients that hail from real-world farms rather than freeze-dried packages. Tacos and burritos brim with a choice of meats, including pork carnitas and charbroiled steak. Filled with shrimp tacos, tortilla soups, and grilled-chicken salads, a Healthy Choices menu guides diners toward meals that are low in fat, calories, carbs, and smog.
Oaxaca Taqueria captures the essence of Mexico's street vendors with authentic Mexican food made fresh daily with local and environmentally sustainable ingredients. Their devotion to all-natural meats and crisp garden-grown veggies hasn't gone unnoticed. The New York Times, Time Out New York, and New York Magazine lavished praise upon the food at Oaxaca's four locations, causing the food to become as full of itself as the patrons who frequent the eatery. Known for their light tacos and enchiladas, Oaxaca's chefs stuff carne asada, stewed chicken, and frijoles onto or into corn tortillas for entrees. They grill their Mexican sandwiches, known as tortas, on talera bread, and they serve heaps of their three entrees with rice and beans when catering. Each location boasts a daily lunch special featuring one of their three mainstays, which guests can with one of their traditional beverages such as jarritos or horchata.
Live music and the fragrance of baking pizza fill the warmly lit interior of CU 29 Copper. Whether nestled into a plush, old-fashioned sofa or sitting outside under burrito-shaped constellations on the patio, guests tuck into brunch, lunch, and dinner dishes that combine Mexican, Italian, and American cuisine. The brick oven's flames toss light onto gold, sponge-painted walls that pop with painted murals and brick archways. Bottomless mimosas, bellinis, and bloody marys prep brunch-time gullets for omelets, tacos, and desserts, and shrimp ceviche swims into the mouths of lunch and dinner diners. Forks can sink tines into organic quinoa salad, free-range chicken, or spoon rivals as they tour CU 29’s globetrotting dishes.
The red-brick exterior of Los Hermanos seems rather quiet, with its garage-door entry and painted block-letter sign. But inside, there is a flurry of activity. On one side of a Plexiglass wall, crew members bake fresh corn tortillas; on the other side, diners sit in a cantina, watching the process. Though some of the tortillas are packaged for retail distribution, others are used in the cantina for tacos and tostadas stuffed with veggies or one of six meats, including chorizo or spicy pork. As New York Magazine noted, “the delicately cooked fillings hardly need additional dressing”, but diners can scan the cooler for containers of homemade salsas.
Though it’s the brainchild of a pair of first-time restaurant owners, El Toro Taqueria’s à la carte menu—described by Brooklyn Exposed as “economical” and “no-frills”—dazzles taste buds with wrapped Mexican morsels. Tacos, burritos, and enchiladas encase one of eight tender proteins, from carnitas to chorizo. Wrapped delicacies round out plates beside sides such as elote—corn on the cob layered in cotija cheese, chipotle mayo, and chili powder—which can be used to challenge fellow diners to a duel for their last taco.