The star of films including Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn and Heat will open a restaurant on Portobello Road in Notting Hill as part of plans to roll out the brand across Europe over the next five years.
Trejo’s Tacos will occupy a two-storey, 3,000sq ft site that will have space for 70 covers inside and a further 30-cover capacity for alfresco dining on the outdoor terrace. It will have a cocktail bar as well as an underground ‘speakeasy’ featuring DJs for the after-dinner crowds.
It is described as offering ‘an elevated Mexican dining experience’ with a menu that uses sustainably sourced ingredients. Dishes will include slow-roasted pork carnitas taco, served with fresh pineapple and fermented hot sauce; a steak asada taco with pepita pesto (a favourite of Anthony Bourdain); shrimp tostados, Baja-style beer-battered fish; blackened salmon; and beef-brisket.
There will also be a range of gluten free, celiac friendly, vegan, paleo and pescatarian dishes on offer including asada-style mushrooms; young jackfruit; and roasted cauliflower tacos.
The cocktail bar will serve a range of tequila and mezcal infused drinks, including its signature frozen OG Margarita and Lavender Paloma, as well as local craft beers.
Trejos Tacos was created following a conversation between Trejo and film producer Ash Shah on the set of Bad Ass. The pair opened their first taqueria in Los Angeles in 2016 followed quickly with openings in Hollywood, the Original Farmers Market, Santa Monica, and downtown LA.
The taco group now operates seven restaurants including Trejo’s Coffee and Donuts.
“When we launched Trejo’s Tacos in LA, our aim was to serve a better version of Mexican food that won’t clog your arteries,” says Trejo.
“In Mexican cooking, recipes are handed down through generations, and that’s what inspired this whole concept: generations of my family’s recipes. We’ve taken out the stuff that isn’t healthy, without losing the great taste and flavour.”
“When it comes to restaurants, everyone asks me: what’s my secret? Restaurants usually die within their first year. We’ve opened seven in four years. People come for the food, good service, and a feeling of community. People come back for the good food…and because they feel at home when they step back inside a Trejo’s Tacos. That’s all.”
“I’m so ready to bring Trejo’s Tacos to London. I love the creativity that the city inspires, and I can’t think of a better place to launch internationally than with our friends in London. I’m excited that we found the perfect time and team to bring Trejo’s to its second home.”
Gap in the market
The London-based venture will be led by restaurateur Jerome Armit - who has worked for places including The Crazy Bear Fitzrovia, Newman Street Tavern and Soho’s El Camion - and film producer and financier Sean O’Kelly, who will jointly helm the operation as co-CEOs. The advisory team includes Yianni Papoutsis, who was previously involved with MEATliquor.
“When Sean and I set out on this journey, we knew we were onto something special. Mention it to anyone who’s been to LA, and they’ll tell you it’s the first place they visit,” says Armit.
“We knew there was a huge gap in the market here in the UK for authentic and healthy Mexican Food. We could not be more excited to be working with Danny and Ash to bring this world-leading brand to the UK. The diversity and cultural hub of West London’s iconic Portobello Road is the perfect home for our first site. We can’t wait to open our doors later this year.”
Trejo’s Taco’s London site was first mooted last year when the Trejo announced he was planning to open a flagship taco restaurant in central London. At the time the reformed gangster turned Hollywood actor launched a crowdfund with a £1m target.