Taqueria El Pastorcito opens its doors with authentic Mexican cuisine in New Kensington
A mariachi band will perform in downtown New Kensington on Sunday as part of the opening of the town’s newest restaurant.
Taqueria El Pastorcito will be open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, with the band playing for a few hours mid-afternoon, owner and chef Jose Tecuanhuehue said. This differs from the restaurant’s regular hours, which will be 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
The restaurant is located at 929 Fourth Ave., in a space that used to be a hot dog shop. While Tecuanhuehue has worked in restaurants before and operates a food truck, this is the first restaurant for him and his family.
“I’m excited and I’m a little nervous,” said Tecuanhuehue, a native of Cholula, Mexico, who lives in the South Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh. “I trust God that I will be fine.”
The opening takes place about a month later than expected by Tecuanhuehue. Problems with equipment, permits and licenses caused the delay.
“I learned a lot,” he said. Opening a restaurant “is not easy”.
Anyone wanting to sample Tecuanhuehue’s food — including tacos, quesadillas, and burritos — needn’t wait until Sunday. He will have his trailer on First Fridays of this year on Fifth, a food truck event along Fifth Avenue from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday.
Fifth Fridays began in 2021. Tecuanhuehue attended all four events from July to October.
He is the first of the event’s food truck operators to open a restaurant in the city.
Tecuanhuehue will use the restaurant as a base for its truck. He is working on a second truck, which he hopes will be ready to roll in May.
Tecuanhuehue said he and his wife, Bernice, will work in the restaurant during the day and on their trucks after it closes. He now has three employees and plans to hire a few more for the second truck.
Tecuanhuehue said he took his truck as far as Grove City, but otherwise travels to neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. It is found in breweries and organizes weddings, birthdays and parties.
The restaurant will feature all of the truck’s offerings and more, including a daily special and weather-appropriate soups. Breakfast will be served from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by lunch until 3 p.m.
Customers will be able to see their food being prepared at the front of the restaurant after ordering at the counter. Tecuanhuehue said the restaurant is decorated like a Mexican home and he plans to change it several times a year.
Tecuanhuehue said he might add lunch hours depending on how business is going and his ability to recruit employees.
“It’s a family business,” Tecuanhuehue said. “We started from the bottom.”
He can’t wait for local residents to taste his food and tell him what they think.
“We will work hard to make everyone happy,” he said.