Earlier this month, Cambridge's Central Square got a new addition to its main drag. Looking more like it belongs in Austin, Texas, or Portland, Oregon, Naco Taco's bright orange food truck-style kitchen trailer has made a happy home in what was once empty space owned by MIT. The food from Alden & Harlow's Michael Scelfo is not traditional Mexican, but it's not too far from it either. It can be enjoyed either inside the restaurant or outside on the already-popular patio.
The inside of the restaurant combines cheerfully bright colors and murals with exposed brick and concrete, giving the feeling that Naco has been there all along. To the front of the space, a wall of windows provides prime people-watching on the patio and sidewalk. More tables line the back wall of windows, which reaches all the way to the prep space where members of the kitchen are working on tortillas. There's a giant wall of refrigerators that not only store food but look like art, providing pops of color courtesy of limes, house-made hot sauces, and more.
The large U-shaped bar sits just before a mural that takes up the entire back wall and adds a bright contrast to the industrial accents. More high-tops line the back along the mural-covered wall, and even more run down the length of the wall opposite the bar. A pint glass is stuffed with silverware and napkins while hot sauce is at the ready at each table.
Naco's large patio runs all the way up to the sidewalk and is surrounded by plants that give it some privacy. Brightly colored umbrellas provide a beach-like feel, and string lights generously hanging from above are illuminated at night, creating a canopy that creates the perfect ambiance for kicking back with a michelada and a pig's head taco (wrapped in a blood tortilla), or perhaps a shaved tri tip torta with burnt pineapple salsa. The focal point of the patio is the food truck kitchen, fluorescent orange and yellow, accented by an attention-grabbing Naco Taco sign.