Rocco’s Tacos opens Friday
Downtown Brooklyn is about to get an infusion of Mexican flavor, chased with a shot of tequila. After months of construction, Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar will open at 339 Adams Street this Friday. The celebrated South Florida boutique chain will offer around 420 varieties of tequila in its first New York location. (That is, purportedly, the largest tequila selection in the entire Northeast.)
Owner Rocco Mangel opened the first Rocco’s Tacos in West Palm Beach, Florida in 2007 and has since gone on to open four more locations across the state. However, Mangel, a native New Yorker, was ready to bring his restaurant home, and the Downtown Brooklyn location is his most ambitious effort yet—he signed a 15-year lease for 14,000 square feet at the former Morton’s space, which includes six banquet rooms and an 80-foot bar – the largest in the borough.
“I’m beyond excited to introduce the Rocco’s Tacos brand to the New York market,” Mangel said. “Growing up in Long Island, I always hoped to open a restaurant in my home state. Brooklyn is a thriving borough that I love and I’m confident that we will be a great addition to the vibe and dining culture.”
Mangel got an early education in food and hospitality in the New York restaurant scene of his youth, learning customer service skills from his grandfather, who was the general manager of famous New York City nightclub Copacabana. Even as Rocco’s became a thriving destination in Florida, Mangel remained a man of the people; he’s well-known for showing up to his restaurants, dancing on the bar, and buying tequila rounds for the house.
Mangel got his start working in the kitchen of his father’s Long Island restaurants before moving to Florida and working as a busboy. The food at Rocco’s is an expansive range of Mexican dishes. Tacos with toppings like pollo, chorizo, and carne asada are prepared on housemade flour or corn tortillas. There are also street tacos like the Korean (hoisin BBQ beef, kimchi, salsa caccahuate) and the Brooklyn (pulled pork, smoked bacon, chorizo, pork belly, cilantro, onion, salsa verde). Other favorites include battered chile rellenos, stuffed with chihuahua and goat cheese and topped with salsa rojo, lime crema, cotija cheese, red rice and black beans, and the molcajete seafood, a medley of shrimps, scallops, and mahi topped with cotija cheese, cilantro, pico, and guacamole, and served in a Mexican lava rock bowl. And don’t miss the guacamole, which is freshly prepared tableside.
Mangel’s positive influence is felt outside the kitchen, too. On top of running his restaurants, he has contributed time and money to charities across the spectrum, including Habitat for Humanity, The YMCA, Toys For Tots, and JustWorld International. Between 2011 and 2012, he raised more than $32,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Between his charitable work and his “mi casa es su casa” approach to customer service, Rocco’s—and Mangel—are sure to be welcome additions to Downtown Brooklyn.