A new addition to Montclair’s dining scene is on the horizon in the form of a new Mexican restaurant, Playa Taqueria, located at 206 Bellevue Avenue. This eatery, led by David Feit, John Paul Valenti, Charlie Diehl, and chef Ricardo Camacho, will emphasize authentic Mexican corn tortillas. Playa Taqueria aims to deliver a true taste of Mexico by blending traditional flavors with some creative twists in its tacos, bowls, and burritos, to introduce authentic Mexican cuisine to the neighborhood. Read on for details about Playa Taqueria, a new Mexican restaurant coming to Bellevue Avenue in Montclair, NJ.
Observant pedestrians in Montclair may have already spotted the wall signs displayed on the vacant structure at 206 Bellevue Avenue. In large letters, it reads “Coming Soon,” detailing the restaurant’s name, logo, and website for further details about the establishment. More digging on Playa Taqueria’s Instagram revealed “getting prepared,” with a photo of the building and sign. While an official opening date for Playa Taqueria remains pending, the owners expect to welcome guests at 206 Bellevue Avenue sometime in November.
About the Owners
The culinary team behind Playa Taqueria are no strangers to the art of Mexican cuisine. The owners, David Feit, John Paul Valenti, Charlie Diehl, and chef Ricardo Camacho, are part of the same food and restaurant group that owns Tortilleria Nixtamal in Woodland Park, New Jersey. Tortilleria Nixtamal is a tortilla manufacturer known for its authentic tortillas that are distributed to numerous restaurants in the tri-state area.
Tortilleria Nixtamal produces all-natural, flavorful tortillas using the traditional methods of the Aztecs. The recipe uses natural, non-GMO corn, salt, and New Jersey water. The white corn, native to Mexico and Central America, has been adapted to North America and is grown on a sustainable family farm in Illinois. Every week, the corn is shipped to Woodland Park where the chefs produce the corn tortillas. What sets these tortillas apart from other store-bought brands is the absence of additives or preservatives, ensuring they are full of rich corn flavor.
The group also owns Añejo restaurants in New York and Philadelphia, but Playa Taqueria marks the first venture of this kind. The inspiration for opening a Mexican restaurant in Montclair is to provide more of the tortillas to New Jersey. As of now, the tortillas are served in other New Jersey restaurants such as Central Taqueria in Morristown, Los Compadres in Fort Lee, Rosa Mexicana in Hackensack, the Spring Café in Tenafly, Stone + Rail in Glen Rock, Taco Bar in Closter, Taco Drive in Jersey City, Tacowala in Somerville, and Uno Mas in Allendale. With Montclair being a central hub for eateries and restaurants alike, the location was an ideal spot for the owners to introduce the tortillas. More information regarding the tortillas can be found on Tortilleria Nixtamal’s website.
About the Restaurant
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The ambiance that the owners strive to create is a “beachy Mexico vibe,” as David put it, which is reminiscent of a “casual taco stand in Tulum.” The menu will feature a symphony of Mexican flavors, spanning tacos, bowls, and burritos with a selection of fillings that include tamarind glazed pork belly carnitas, short-rib suadero, longaniza, and R.E.M, a mixture of poblano rajas, charred corn, and crispy shiitake mushrooms. The kid-friendly menu options include rice and beans camote, which are roasted sweet potatoes, or a cheese quesadilla made on fresh corn tortillas.
Sweet tooths won’t be disappointed as the dessert menu will serve house-made concha ice cream sandwiches; a Mexican dessert that combines the flavors of conchas and ice cream. The conchas, a well-known Mexican sweet bread with a distinctive seashell-like appearance, will be created with a sweet, crumbly streusel topping to complement the restaurant’s beachy Mexican vibe.
Considering that tortillas serve as a central aspiration for the restaurant, customers will have the option to purchase packages of 100% nixtamalized corn tortillas or homemade chips to continue the Playa Taqueria experience at home.