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INCOMING: Mercadito Wheels

Chicago's Sandoval brothers launch their mobile taco unit in San Diego

By Troy Johnson

Bringing a taco joint from Chicago to San Diego is a bit like taking your thin-crust pizza idea from here to New York. But Mercadito is one heralded taco from one heralded family. Alfredo and Felipe Sandoval will launch their first food truck enterprise—Mercadito Wheels—in San Diego this fall (the website, when activated, will go here). The Sandoval brothers started with their first Mercadito taco shop in New York and now have three of ’em (NYC, Miami, Chicago), plus a host of other concepts under the Mercadito Hospitality umbrella.  If the name Sandoval sounds familiar, it should. The family’s other star—chef Richard Sandoval—just opened Venga Venga in Chula Vista.

Mercadito Wheels’ core menu will be street tacos like tacos de carne (skirt steak, potato-poblano rajas, avo-tomatillo crema) and tacos de camaron (shrimp, roasted garlic, avo, chipotle-mojo). They’ll also have riffs on nachos, flautas, esquites (corn with chile de arbol, epazote and queso cotija), and a Mercadito Burger (ribeye-and-short rib w/ jalapeño emulsion, Chihuaha and Oaxaca chiles and grilled scallions). The restaurant group’s drink genies, The Tippling Bros.—who usually do craft tequila cocktails at their brick-and-mortar restaurants—have created on-board agua frescas (pineapple-ginger, strawberry-cinnamon, cucumber-lime).

The Sandovals are a talented bunch. Their sudden interest in San Diego can be attributed to family member and local restaurateur, Pablo Becker. After his high-end El Vitral concept shuttered earlier this year, Becker hasn’t moped. He brokered the Venga Venga deal and now he’ll serve as managing partner of Mercadito Wheels.

INCOMING: Mercadito Wheels

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