Guess who’s slingin’ their tasty tacos this #tacofestpvd17? Of course! The oft seen late night taco truck, Poco Loco. Read co-owner Alan Masterson’s interview to see what makes their tacos unique (and one very clever life-hack!)
How and why did you start cooking? What is your background?
I’ve been cooking my whole life. This year marks 23 years in kitchens for me. I grew up on Cape Cod working at various local restaurants in Falmouth, mostly TexMex. I moved to Providence for Johnson & Wales in 1998 and have worked all over the city. I was running Jake’s Bar & Grill formerly on Richmond Street for almost 9 years. I moved to CA for a year and worked at J.M Rosen’s Waterfront as Sous chef. They specialized in upscale American Contemporary and Californian cuisine. I mostly started cooking because I love to eat.
How did your restaurant come into being? Why did you want to start Poco Loco?
We started our truck back in the summer of 2010. At the time Chris Gilchrist (the co-owner) and I had both been laid off. Chris was an electrician and I was running the kitchen in the Vanderbilt Hotel in Newport. We had worked together at Jake’s Bar & Grill for years and had often mused over opening a food truck. He had been eating off food trucks on job sites for years working as an electrician, and I had frequented them while in California. We were both looking for something to do so we decided the time was right and Poco Loco was born. The shop came 2 years later. We were constantly being yelled at on Facebook that people couldn’t get their tacos unless the truck was out. So we said “Ooook fine we’ll just open a restaurant! Happy now?” They seem to be.
How would you describe your food or concept?
Poco Loco is a taco shop and truck that tries not to get too hung up on being super authentic. We make tacos with the things we love to eat. Bacon and BBQ pulled pork taste amazing in a taco! Onions and cilantro are great too, but why not add some spiced up sour cream or Cajun mayo?? We like flavor, and we’ll do our best to bring it to the tortilla.
What are you hoping to show/ express through your food?
We are hoping to serve The Best Damn Tacos in town. Preferably with bacon.
What sets you apart from other vendors?
I think one of the things that sets us apart from other trucks is our price range. Our tacos make for a cheap snack at just 2$ a piece but I guarantee you’ll be stuffed for just 7$ on a burrito. Being able to mix and match salsas and ingredients however you want also inspires people to be creative on their own. Most of our regulars have created their own favorites off things they see on the menu. Some of them sound great, while others just sound…creative.
Why are tacos such an enjoyable thing to eat?
If you look at a taco head-on the tortilla looks like a smile, who wouldn’t want to eat a smile?
What makes your tacos distinctive?
Our tacos are served wrapped in foil. If you smooth it out flat afterwards you can use it to check for cilantro in your teeth!
What do you do to keep your food traditional?
We do offer a traditional taco and burrito with the customary Pico de Gallo but we encourage people to order off the “Our Favorites” menu for a kick of flavor.
How do you take creative license?
One of our biggest sellers of our “Grande Taco” It’s a grilled pita bread similar to a Gyro. It’s much bigger and more filling than a normal tortilla, and the soft pita soaks up the flavorful sauces quite nicely.