Taqueria Autentica Opening Tonight!

by Melody Kettle

Mexican food lovers rejoice! Taqueria Autentica will be opening it's doors at 1035 Broad St. in Bloomfield tonight! 

If the name sounds familiar to you that's because owner, Bloomfield native, Michael Natiello, has operated the much loved Taqueria Autentica Mexican food truck at the Montclair Farmer's Market since 2009.  Following the success at the Montclair Market, Taqueria Autentica expanded to the Summit Farmers Market in October of 2009.  Natiello then quit is full-time job as an attorney, purchased a Freightliner newspaper truck from the Asbury Park Press, installed a kitchen, and at the insistence of his wife, who has worked in Newark for more than 10 years as a public interest lawyer, began operating in downtown Newark in May 2010.

Taqueria Autentica is undoubtedly appropriately named; the cuisine is rustic, honest, and phenomenally satisfying.  Natiello aims to "introduce people to simple, fresh, authentic Mexican food in the style of roadside taco stands and trucks of Mexico and California."  According to Natiello, who lived in Mexico for six years,

Taco trucks kind of started the gourmet food truck phenomenon.  They’re just a really pure, basic, simple way to get fresh food.  Authenticity – the word is a bit over used these days, we’re aware.  Authenticity is not originality, except insofar as not many Mexican restaurants do things the traditional way, so in that respect we may be somewhat original.  In fact, authenticity is almost the opposite of originality.   It’s taking the traditions and following them carefully.  We always adhered to the concept that authenticity was doing things the way people have been doing them for years.  We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to Mexican food.  Our food is made the old way. 

 In addition to authenticity, he has always been committed to quality, using quality meats, artisanal tortillas made from fresh masa, and organic and locally grown produce when possible. 

I guess you could call it "authentically local." I have long been a fan of the Mexican food truck and am thrilled to no longer have to wait until Saturday to get my taco fix!  So what will be on the brick and mortar menu? Natiello adds,

Of course, we’re not above the occasional twist, especially with Asian flavors.  We’ve developed a spicy black bean and ginger mahi mahi taco with red cabbage that we typically have as a special, and we also have a Korean barbecue taco with jicama slaw.  Sometimes people yell at me for not sticking to real Mexican food when I have a special like that, but our basic menu is the same. 

We try to do our part concerning sustainability, all of our packaging is made from recycled material, and some of it is even compostable.

All of the favorites from the truck are included in the restaurant menu.  But the restaurant menu is obviously going to have more choices.  Still, the concept is the same:  good, real Mexican food, which should be fairly quick and easy to get, and eaten casually.  We hope people will come to our new place.     

Taqueria Autentica will be closed for labor day weekend, including Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  They will re-open on Tuesday.  The Grand Opening is planed for September 16.

Stay tuned to Hot From The Kettle for exclusive photos from Taqueria Authentica. You can follow Taqueria Autentica on Facebook and Twitter. Check out this quick video from last year's Montclair Farmer's Market.