There’s a unicorn in the kitchen of Chido Taco, the new Raleigh taqueria in McNeill Pointe.
While tacos al pastor are deliciously ubiquitous on the menus of Mexican restaurants, in North Carolina the trompo, the rotating column of slowly cooked and caramelized pork, is a tragic rarity. The best versions of tacos al pastor are made with meat shaved from the spit and crisped by the flames of a gas or charcoal burner, then topped with pineapple sliced from the top of the column and caught in the air on a tortilla. It’s art, it’s acrobatic, it’s the taco mountaintop.
For Chido Taco co-owner Salvador Alvarez, authentic al pastor was essential.
“That’s the only way you can really get that flavor,” Alvarez said. “Other places call it tacos al pastor, but if it’s not cooked like that there’s no way to get that flavor. No one is doing it here.”
Chido Taco has been in soft opening mode for the last month and will hold its grand opening Aug. 22. The restaurant is owned by Alvarez and Joel Ibarra, who together also own locations of La Rancherita and Viva Mexican Kitchen in the Triangle. Other partners include Balu Torres, Alonso Hernandez and chef Miguel Cuevas.
This is Alvarez and Ibarra’s first fast-casual concept, modeled on the bright and airy markets of Mexico.
“At our other restaurants, the food is great, but it’s not a street style taco,” Alvarez said.
The menu includes the taco classics, al pastor, beef tongue, a skirt steak asada, chicken and a vegetarian option with cactus and poblanos. There are also some taco creations, like a shrimp taco with mezcal and chile de arbol and another with grilled octopus, chorizo, chicharron and salsa verde. Chido Taco also serves burritos, quesadillas and bowls if you’re not feeling a tortilla.
Cocktails are made with just-squeezed juices and Alvarez said their version of a michelada has been the most popular drink through the soft opening.
Chido Tacos is open seven days a week and is located at 2330 Bale Street in Raleigh’s McNeill Pointe shopping center. For more information, visit chidotaco.com.