First Look: Cafe El Presidente From Tacombi Opens in Flatiron

By Zagat Staff  |  April 24, 2014

A far cry from its original VW bus in the Yucatan, the team behind Tacombi at Fonda NoLita will open its third New York venture in the Flatiron District on Monday, creating an Eataly-style restaurant-retail hybrid devoted to upscale, authentic Mexican street food.

Joining Tacombi and its sister restaurant, Montauk’s La Brisa, Cafe El Presidente is designed to resemble an outdoor market. Brightly accented white-tile stands house breakfast, lunch and dinner options, surrounding cafe-style seating in the middle. There’s a Veracruz-style coffee bar, whose beans are sourced from their namesake region and roasted locally; a juice bar with fresh fruit-and-herb blends (beets, strawberry, ginger, orange) and cocktails (paloma, pina colada); a “marisqueira,” featuring seafood caught near La Brisa; and a corner for retail food stuffs such as housemade salsas and tortillas.

Cafe El Presidente’s owners enlisted the help of Peels alum Jason DeBriere to develop its brunch menu and expand its resident taqueria, Tacos Madison. Here, customers can sit and order straight from the kitchen, choosing from tacos filled with carne asada, spicy shrimp, grilled nopales and more. They’ll find favorites from Tacombi’s original menu, as well as new varieties like al pastor tacos stuffed with spit-roasted pork and pineapple.

Like the original in Playa Del Carmen, where fish for Tacombi’s tacos came from the docks across the street, all of the market’s ingredients are locally and sustainably sourced, a commitment that co-owner Dario Wolos says is only feasible in New York when you’re working for three or four locations. Wolos wants Cafe El Presidente to become a neighborhood place, one that not only takes on the feel of the Flatiron but also introduces its patrons to all that Mexican cuisine has to offer. “People only know about 1 percent of what is available,” he says. “There’s so much more.” - Claire Oliver

Details: 30 W. 24th Street; 646-429-8284. Hours: Monday - Friday, 7AM - Midnight, Weekends 7AM - 2AM

Photos by Cherie Cincilla

  • "Tacos Madison" - the anchor of the space and the main highlight offering a Mexico City-style taqueria with beer and cocktails.

  • Crispy fish taco

  • Jugos Lupita - A Tulum-inspired Juice Bar offering a selection of simple, fresh, made-to-order juices

  • La Plancha Shrimp Taco

  • "Tacos Madison" seating area and bar

  • Tacos al pastor

  • The bar