July 3, 2018 By Tara Law
A popular East Harlem taqueria known for al pastor tacos will open a new location in Jackson Heights in late July or early August.
The restaurant, which will be located at 90-04 37th Ave., will serve classic Mexican tacos and quesadillas, including the shop’s specialty— al pastor tacos, which feature roasted marinated pork with cilantro and onions.
Taco Mix was one of the first restaurants in the city to introduce al pastor tacos, and the restaurant has become known for its special recipe, according to Alejo Sanchez, who runs the restaurants with his parents.
Although al pastor has become popular across the city, Taco Mix has maintained its popularity because it is one of the only restaurants where the pork roasts on a spit near the front counter, Sanchez said.
“You can smell that tender crispy pork with the nice seasoning,” Sanchez said. “People are looking for an experience.”
Sanchez’ parents Taco Mix founded in 1991, about a decade after they immigrated to New York from Mexico.
Jorge Sanchez, Alejo’s dad, supported his family in the 1980s by selling oranges in parks throughout Washington Heights. In his spare time, Jorge constructed a taco cart by hand.
“I don’t think they expected this [eatery] to be what it is today,” Alejo said.
The couple carefully saved money, and in 1990 a storefront became available in East Harlem. The family opened Taco Mix taqueria the following year.
Over time, Alejo said, Taco Mix built a following for its authentic flavors and carefully crafted recipes.
The Sanchez family opened a second location in Brooklyn last year. The Jackson Heights venue will be its third. A fourth restaurant is planned to open on Delancey Street in Manhattan this fall.
Alejo said that his parents have spent decades perfecting Taco Mix’s recipes and that people travel across the city to try the restaurant’s dishes.
“We’re very careful with what we do,” Alejo said. “The recipes really distinguishes us from other places.”
The Jackson Heights Taqueria will offer many of the same menu items as the other locations, as well as shrimp and fish tacos.
The family decided to open a taqueria in Jackson Heights given the neighborhood’s sizable Latino population, Alejo said.
He said that they aim to provide diners with a relaxed atmosphere.
“We don’t put a flag up, to say that ‘this is Mexican,’ said Alejo. “We want to make everyone feel comfortable.”