Boston’s Seaport District welcomed a new restaurant to its ranks yesterday, November 20, with the opening of Bartaco (25 Thomson Pl., steps from the brand new Trillium location). This is the first location in Massachusetts for the taqueria chain, which has several restaurants spread around the country, including ones in Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, and beyond.
Bartaco’s parent company, Barteca, operates two Massachusetts locations of its tapas-oriented brand, Barcelona Wine Bar, as well, one in Brookline and the other in Boston’s South End, along with several others around the country. In 2017, Barteca was acquired by the Del Frisco’s group, which also operates several Boston-area restaurants under the Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and Del Frisco’s Grille brands.
“For us, it’s a natural fit,” said Bartaco culinary director Jonathan Rohland. “The Seaport area and that Fort Point area is such a cool, vibe-y neighborhood that’s up-and-coming with such a great clientele.”
Rohland told Eater that Bartaco had explored expansion options to Boston for a while, searching for the ideal neighborhood to join and ultimately finding a home in Seaport.
“We’re gonna bring that cool coastal vibe,” he said. “You’ll see the common theme of just wanting to be part of that neighborhood.”
Bartaco takes a broad, globe-spanning approach to taco fillings on its menu, which is consistent across 16 locations (but eventually, diners will see some Boston-specific menu items in the Seaport). The Bartaco team doesn’t ascribe to what people may think of as a typical Mexican taco.
“We like to keep it a little bit light and flavorful,” Rohland said. The menu plays around with “any bold, simple flavors [they] can put on a taco,” including cuisines from the Pacific Rim and the Mediterranean, from falafel to carnitas with mojo and beyond.
“The cool thing about it is just tacos that take you around the world with bold, simple flavors,” Rohland said.
Rohland has been working in kitchens since he was a teenager, dabbling in cooking everything from Spanish tapas to traditional French dishes and ramen.
“I think every chef has a passion for tacos,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always cooked and always eaten.”
Aside from tacos, Bartaco serves poke, ceviche, blue corn duck confit quesadillas, fried plantains, sopa de pollo, and more. The restaurant also has a full liquor license, which means the bar is churning out cocktails, including what Rohland called “the best margaritas ever.”
The restaurant accommodates 170 diners, and there will be a patio for 50, which Rohland said will get ample use, hopefully even off-season.
“There’s times in which patio season’s over, but you get that one day or two days that it’s there; we’ll set up the patio on a moment’s notice,” he said, prepared to accommodate New England’s weather swings.
Bartaco’s Boston chef is Carolina Curtin, who Rohland described as “an amazing fireball of energy and passion when it comes to food.” Curtin is an alum of numerous local hot spots, including Haley.Henry and Cafe Artscience. Bartaco’s sous chef is Emma Kobolakis.
“I’m just excited about being there and being a part of it and actually responding to our guests,” Rohland said. “I’m excited to see, with Carolina and her team, how she’s going to be able to lead that restaurant.”
Bartaco will be open Wednesday and Friday of this week, November 21 and 23, closing on Thanksgiving, before diving into a more regular schedule next week.