Going to Los Garcia Mexican Fusion in Waterbury is an experience.
Part restaurant, part food truck and all great find, Los Garcia isn’t so much a taco truck as a taco encampment/Mexican food oasis.
The compound includes a food truck, a giant trailer, a row of outdoor tables under hanging lights and an indoor restaurant area in what used to be an auto repair shop.
You order at the food truck, eat at the restaurant or outdoor tables, and I’m not really sure what the trailer’s for, but it looks cool. Above the trailer, large neon letters form the words “Taqueria Los Garcia.” Below this are the words “Los Garcia Explosion of Real Flavor.” This flavor, along with the neo-noir vibe of the setting, makes Los Garcia a must-find for fans of authentic Mexican cuisine and pieces of Connecticut-ana (of or relating to the cultural heritage of Connecticut).
Los Garcia Mexican Fusion
836 E. Main St., Waterbury
The taco meat options include chicken, chorizo and al pastor. These well-seasoned and flavorful meats are served atop made-to-order tortillas that are warm and soft to the touch. A side of guacamole bursts with flavor and the chicken burrito is among the best in the state. It’s big enough to hold a grab bag of ingredients but small enough to maintain its structural integrity as you hold it and bite into its layers of deliciousness, including flavorful yellow rice.
Los Garcia will celebrate its four-year anniversary in March. It is owned by Cristhyan Garcia, who credits his mixed heritage and multi-country upbringing with inspiring Los Garcia’s recipes. His mother is from Guatemala and his father is from Mexico. He was born in Los Angeles but spent much of his childhood in Guatemala and went to culinary school in Mexico. He calls the food offered at Los Garcia “Mexican fusion” because it incorporates flavors from various countries.
Nowhere is this more apparent than at the salsa bar inside the restaurant. Here 12 different varieties are offered at a self-serve counter. One salsa is Brazilian influenced, another is Guatemalan style, and so on.
Speaking of the inside, Edison light bulbs hang from the ceiling over silver tables and orange chairs. There are bathrooms, heat and everything you’d expect from a more run-of-the-mill restaurant with counter service.
Garcia notes that the al pastor tacos — a customer favorite — are made on the vertical rotisserie the same way it’s been done in Mexico since the cooking technique was brought to the country by Middle Eastern immigrants in the late 1800s and first half of the 1900s.
“Everything is cooked in the moment and everything is cooked like a home recipe,” he says.
Los Garcia is behind the Brass Mill Center shopping center, just off Interstate 84 and not far from Waterbury’s iconic lit-up cross. The glowing green lights of this food truck-restaurant hybrid are a different kind of beacon in the Waterbury night, one beckoning with the promise of flavor.
This article appeared in the February 2018 issue of Connecticut Magazine.
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