Food trucks aren’t the only new food trend sweeping the nation. Many chefs are taking to pop-up shops where they set-up up shop at or around another business with a couple tables and supplies in hand. My new favorite pop-up/soon-to-be restaurant is Baby Loves Taco.
I was tipped off by another food lover about this taco gold mine.
“Want to get tacos from my taco guy for lunch on Friday?” she inquired.
I was first hooked by the trigger word, “tacos”, but also needed to inquire about who this taco guy was. She explained how she ran into his pop-up tacos in Highland Park and through word-of-mouth knew that he would be popping up at Redhawk Cafe on Meyran Street in Oakland every Friday for the time-being.
With no hesitation, I took her up on the invitation. We picked up a couple more coworkers along the way and headed to Redhawk Cafe. Along the right side wall of the tiny cafe was owner of Baby Loves Taco, Zach Shell, two tables, a couple stove tops and the beautiful aroma of meats and spices.
Dressed for business, Shell was literally sporting tacos from head to toe from his taco designed snapback and sneakers.
One of the most friendly guys I’ve ever met, Shell made small talk with every customer and expressed that the business wasn’t all about the money, but really selling quality food to the community. The woman in front of me was short change, and he graciously told her to pay him back next time. Another man bartered his bracelet for a few tacos and my friend that led us to the pop-up shop was given free tacos for bringing in new business. It was refreshing to meet such a genuine nice guy, in addition to a guy that made a mean taco.
On my first visit, I ordered two spicy chicken and a roast pork taco. Each ingredient was fresh, from the cilantro to the local cheese, down to the juicy meat. This man was living up to his name. He also always offers a vegetarian taco and had buffalo cauliflower on the menu that day.
The second time I went to his Redhawk Cafe location, breakfast was the theme. Known as “The B-word” on Instagram, this menu offered breakfast tacos, chilaquiles and breakfast burritos. Burrito or taco, burrito or taco – taco today!
The breakfast tacos contained roasted potatoes, raja, poblano, red pepper, red onions, chorizo, soft scrambled farm egg, scallions, cilantro, smoky chipotle salsa, herby salsa verde, mild ranchero salsa and don’t forget about the fresh guacamole. I would take this taco for any meal of the day, the chorizo and salsa added some prominent spice, the potato and egg rang in the breakfast theme and everything else blended together for a great taco.. or three rather.
As most pop-ups, you can’t always rely on your favorite tacos popping up at the same time and the same place, but Baby Loves Taco posts his menu and where he will be on Facebook and Instagram. Many of the posted menus are illustrated on notepads with pictures and menu details. Typical places you can find him, but are not guaranteed:
– Redhawk Cafe: Fridays – 11:30a.m. until its gone
– Pickle and Pear: Fridays – 5- 8:30pm
– Enrico’s Tazza D’oro: Tuesdays – 5:30 – 7p.m.
– Sighting at Espresso a Mano, The Commonplace at the Mexican War Streets, and Curbside Coffee House
Tacos are priced $4 each or 3 for $10, but obviously, negotiations can sometimes be made. They also cater! The running deal for catering is – $30 (suggested donation) = any combination of 3: burritos, salads, bowls (rice, beans….), or orders of tacos (3 per order) + chips & fresh guacamole.
For now, the pop-up hours are sporadic, but coming soon – Baby Loves Tacos, the restaurant! The permanent location will take shape in Bloomfield at 4508 Liberty Avenue.
The restaurant will be primarily counter service take-out and will have some limited seating. Baby Loves Taco has come a long way from setting up shop with a charcoal grill and a borrowed 4-foot table, but the tacos should have the same great taste and flavor.
Keep track of the taco schedule and the Baby Loves Tacos growth and progress on Facebook and Instagram at @BabyLovesTacos.
Experience Pittsburgh, One Bite at a Time.