By Michael Hastings | Winston-Salem Journal
After more than 10 years on a food truck, Luciano Flores Perez has his own restaurant.
Taqueria Luciano’s opened Jan. 18 at 3230 Reynolda Road, in the former location of Asian BBQ & Grill.
Flores, a 45-year-old native of Veracruz, Mexico, is well-known in this area for his tacos, burritos and quesadillas. Since 2009, Flores has operated the Taqueria Luciano’s food truck throughout the Triad.
“Food trucks are hard. It’s a grind,” he said. But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to give it up. Taqueria Luciano’s is now both a truck and a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Flores said the truck may be sidelined a bit in the short run as he gets the restaurant running smoothly. But he will keep on truckin.’
He’s still working out all the details, including whether he personally will be mostly with the truck or in the restaurant. But, he said, “I will do all the food preparation for everything.”
That way, he said, he can guarantee customers the consistency to which they are accustomed.
The new restaurant is small, with 22 seats.
One plus to visiting the restaurant is an expanded menu. Flores can offer a lot more items in the restaurant than he ever could offer on the truck.
“There was no seafood on the truck,” he said. Now there’s ceviche, fried whole fish and more – which brings a smile to this chef who comes from a coastal city in Mexico known for seafood.
Flores is serving coctel de cameron ($12.50), the classic Mexican cold shrimp cocktail with shrimp and avocado in a spicy tomato sauce. He also has a tostada de ceviche ($5), filete de pescado (market price, grilled fish in garlic butter); and mojarra ($12.50, whole fried tilapia).
The carne asada ($12) is also new: grilled steak, topped with grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and avocado.
The new huarache ($5) consists of a homemade oval tortilla topped with bean, meat of choice, sour cream, lettuce, cheese, tomato and avocado. The new sopes ($2.50) features the same toppings on smaller, thicker tortillas.
The restaurant also has all of Taqueria Luciano’s food truck favorites. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas and tortas come with a choice of eight meats: asada, pollo, barbacoa, cochinita, al pastor, lengua, chorizo and pork skin. The tortas, regularly $10, are now available in a “goliat” or goliath version for $15. The same goes for the burritos.
An order of mixed tacos sells for $8.
Luciano’s also has vegetarian plates of rice, beans, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms for $10. The kids menu includes taco with side of rice ($4) or cheese quesadilla with chips ($6).
The restaurant does not serve alcohol, but has soda and fruit drinks. That includes Mexican coke made with sugar instead of corn syrup and Mexican bottled tamarind, fruit-punch and Mandarin drinks.
Flores said that once he gets the OK from county health inspectors, he will be able to use the restaurant as the commissary for all this food-truck prep – saving him the trouble of driving to a commissary in Yadkin County.
Having his own storefront feels good, he said, but he knows he has his work cut out for him. “It’s good. It makes me happy, but it also means more responsibility,” he said. “I’m working for a better life here. I’ll be happy when I’m making money.”