What a Filling

The dining concepts to debut inside downtown’s resuscitated Stutz building, Taqueria de Julieta will pack freshly pressed tortillas (made from corn nixtamalized on site) with the classic slow-cooked flavors that co-owner Gabriel Sañudo recalls from his younger days in Mexico. At the age of 14, he helped his mother run a restaurant in Cancun, offering simple homestyle meals and aguas frescas. He also worked at a cousin’s Japanese restaurant in Mexico City before moving to the United States in 2010.

 

After a brief stint as a forklift driver, he made his way back to the kitchen, working up the ranks at Meridian Hills Country Club, where he met fellow chef and tortilla connoisseur Esteban Rosas. “We grew up eating almost the same things,” Sañudo says. “We always talked about opening a restaurant together.” The two went on to share kitchen duties at the late Black Market, then Milktooth, occasionally collaborating on their wildly popular taco pop-up, Con Todo.

This year, the pair will make good on their original plan to have a restaurant of their own. Their appreciation for quality ingredients and time-honored preparation will guide the menu at Taqueria de Julieta, an authentic Mexican street-taco shop that Sañudo will operate while Rosas continues to helm Milktooth. Named after Sañudo’s grandmother, the walk-up will focus on grab-and-go fare, but don’t let the casual setup fool you. “Mexican food is not as simple as people think,” Sañudo says. “The meat we’re buying is the same meat you will get at a steakhouse, and our food takes just as long to cook as Italian meatballs and pasta, and was probably more complicated.”

Favorite Things

(1) Tacos al pastor. “When we had a trompo at our Con Todo pop-up, we sold out of the meat in three hours.”

(2) Lil Dumplings. “I’m a big fan of Carlos Salazar.”

(3) Cilantro and onions. “Ingredients I love.”

(4) One World Market. “A Japanese store in Castleton where they make a tonkatsu with curry that’s so good.”

(5) Smoked pork ribs. “I’ve been making a lot of them at home.”

(6) Taquitos Dorados. “Filled with shredded chicken and then deep-fried. I eat them with guac.”