Burlingtonians wondering about the fate of the shuttered Sadie Katz Delicatessen space might find some comfort in what's coming on its heels — that is, if they can switch their allegiance from latkes to tacos.
El Cortijo Taquería y Cantina will open in the same space sometime this winter — bar, take-out window, NECI-trained chef and all.
Translate "El Cortijo," into English, and you get "the farmhouse" — a clue as to what kind of tacos these will be. The new owners are the crew from Farmhouse Tap & Grill, who bought the historic diner and will transform it into a lunch, dinner and late-night spot serving farm-fresh tacos alongside local and Mexican beers, tequilas, margaritas and a "killer house-made sangria," according to Farmhouse owner Jed Davis, who envisions a "fantastic" late-night scene.
Farmhouse chef Phillip Clayton, who nurtured a love of tacos during his North Carolina upbringing, will oversee the menu. Though it's still early, that menu will likely include "traditional standbys" such as tacos al pastor, tacos de pescado and tacos de lengua, as well as some creative apps, according to Davis. "[Mexican food] is a natural vehicle for local food," he adds, and the success of Taco Tuesdays at the Farmhouse was a definite encouragement.
Since the dining car is on the National Register of Historic Places, renovations won't be dramatic, but the partners are striving for a "gypsy-ish" interior — replacing the diner counter with a wooden bar top, laying new tile work, and hanging lights from Conant Metal & Light. They'll also open a taco take-out window facing Bank Street. "We're definitely embracing the history of the building but giving it some interesting tweaks," says Davis.