March 3, 2017
The Gist: An urban spot for upscale Mexican fare has landed at the foot of Church Street. Using local ingredients, the food and drinks at El Local Loco are "approachable and affordable," says Executive Chef/Co-Owner Bryan Burke. "We want to be a great place to get loco, to have fun."
With a host of tequilas and mezcals available, and casual, festive atmosphere, that’s a given.
Grub: This is so not Tex-Mex.
Serving up authentic food with a twist, the menu features dishes of different styles from areas across Mexico, with "strong roots in Mexican cooking methods and flavours," says Burke. He designed and created the menu along with Executive Chef/Operations Manager Adam Dolley.
Everything is made from scratch save the corn tortillas (which are made from scratch offsite), using local and organic ingredients as much as possible to create traditional flavours. Meats are slow-cooked to ensure juiciness and depth of flavour.
In addition to daily specials, the menu features 10 tacos ($4-$9 ea.) including not-often seen Whole Lobster Tail ($9), Octopus ($8) and Crispy Zucchini ($4). Burritos ($12-$16) are so big, they’re served with a knife and fork - you can also order them as a bowl. Larger plates ($16-$17) and desserts ($8-$9) round out the selection. All items are meant to be shared.
Note, the food is not overwhelmingly spicy, but delivers a "nice warmth," says Burke. For additional heat, dip into three types of homemade hot sauce.
Libations: Of course the main attraction here is the bevvy of mezcals and tequilas. Currently there are about 30 tequilas available, but the goal is to have 100-150.
Drink 'em straight or choose from a long list of Margaritas ($11-$13) and other cocktails, made with housemade bitters.
Be sure to check out the Smokin' Skull ($35 for two) with Aged tequila, lime juice, pure agave syrup, and infused with hickory and mesquite.
There’s also cervezas on tap, in bottle and can, ciders and wine.
Burke built the bar and practically everything else. The only thing he didn’t do was the vibrant Mexican mural done by Jesus Mora & Louis Rojas.
Off the Menu:
Grande Margarita ($13) A phenomenal refresher by way of Reposado, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice, and agave syrup.
One sweet, one slightly bitter twists on the classic: Cherry-Licious ($13) Reposado, Luxardo, fresh lime juice, cherry syrup, and Pimms Margarita ($13) Reposado, Pimms, fresh lime juice, agave syrup.
Tortilla Chips with Tres Salsas - Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, and Chorizo con Queso ($14) These housemade chips, guac, pico and con queso are mighty addictive.
Shrimp Ceviche ($11) Packed with citrus punch, this crowd-pleaser of shrimp, mint, radish, sweet peppers, avocado, and red chili on crispy tostada (that doesn’t get soggy!), is a must for seafood lovers.
Pulled Chicken Taco ($6) Soft, juicy pulled chicken with poblano, sweet peppers/guacamole, and spiced peanuts is satisfying without being heavy.
Beer Battered Cod Taco ($6) Fish tacos and beer- does it get any better than that? Garnished with avocado, crema, coleslaw, and lime.
Beef Cheek Burrito ($15) Tender, moist beef cheek mixed with refried beans, guacamole, charred corn, queso, cilantro, and rice gets wrapped in a tortilla, ad topped with pico de gallo, crema, and salsa roja & verde. It’s so heavy, you have to eat it with a knife and fork. Filling too.
Braised Beef Rib Platter ($16) You’ll want to share this large plate of fall-off-the-bone meat with roast corn, rice, salsa roja & verde, and adobo reduction.
Churros Sundae ($9) Finished with dulce de leche and candied peanuts, this sweet treat is big enough for two.
At the Stove: Co-Chefs Shane Gouldson, Matt Calhoun and Irina Tirtirau
Head Honchos: Executive Chef/Co-Owner Bryan Burke and Executive Chef/Operations Manager Adam Dolley
FOH: Georgio Stefanopoulos & Cody MaClean
Map It: 9 Church St. (just below Front)
Visiting Hours: Mon – Thurs 11:30am - 12am
Fri 11:30am - 2am
Sat 10:30am - 2am
Sun 10:30am - 12am
Phone It In: (647) 342-8224
Deets: 170 seats. DJs Friday and Saturday nights. Salsa nights to come. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, with brunch on weekends.
Check out our Facebook page for more photos.